Ignition sessions are acclimating incoming students to KSU
KENNESAW, Ga. (Jun 15, 2016) — Jordan McCombs is counting down to starting his freshman year at Kennesaw State University.
“August 12 can’t come fast enough,” he said during a visit to Kennesaw State for Ignition, the University’s orientation program for first-year and transfer students.
That date is when McCombs will move into his on-campus home at University Village prior to the start of classes on August 15. But first, he and approximately 7,500 incoming students are attending one of KSU’s 26 orientation sessions this summer.
“I love it,” incoming freshman Ashley Baker said as she took a guided tour of campus. “I see how friendly everyone is and how fun this campus is.”
Along with taking the campus tour, each student meets with an academic advisor, registers for fall semester classes and attends sessions pertaining to academic requirements, first-year programs and campus life. Also, the Office of Orientation and Transition Programs created an Ignition app this year so participants can have orientation information right at their fingertips.
Research by the National Orientation Directors Association indicates that students who attend an orientation session at their selected university tend to have higher retention and success rates than those who don’t, according to Chelsea Feraco, assistant director of Kennesaw State’s Office of Orientation and Transition Programs. KSU’s Ignition sessions focus on the students’ immediate priorities for their first semester at their new school, Feraco said.
“Our students go that extra mile to make sure these incoming students feel comfortable and walk away knowing that they can come back to any one of our Ignition leaders for help,” she said. “A mom was walking in for check-in on one of our first Ignition days, and our students were so happy and welcoming to her that she actually started crying. She mentioned that she was nervous about her son’s transition to KSU, but she felt so welcomed as soon as she met our Ignition leaders that she had a sense of relief.”
McCombs, who hails from Fairburn and plans to major in psychology, called Kennesaw State an “up-and-coming” university and cited the exceptional on-campus housing and dining facilities as two of his reasons for choosing to attend KSU. Those were two of the same selling points that appealed to Tyler Mendez, an incoming freshman from Marietta who said he will major in finance.
“I already feel like this is my second home,” Mendez said. “I love the campus, the people, the environment, the campus life – I love all of it. I’m really excited.”
Baker, also from Fairburn, was drawn to Kennesaw State’s nursing program. Another aspiring nursing major, Emmalyn Maltos of Gainesville, is a step ahead of some of her fellow KSU newcomers after being dual-enrolled in high school and Georgia Gwinnett College.
“I know how college works in general, so I’m OK with that part,” Maltos said, “but I needed to sign up for my classes and gain more knowledge about the area and the college itself.”
Their tour was led by Hannah Tucker, a junior marketing major from Evans who wanted to be an Ignition leader from the time she attended her own orientation and saw the enthusiasm the spirited group had for Kennesaw State. Tucker now carries that on to the incoming students she guides around campus.
“We always have a great time at orientation,” she said. “I absolutely love it, because seeing their enthusiasm and excitement makes me happy and makes me want to do the best job I can for them. It’s fantastic.”
Along with the new mobile app, the Office of Orientation and Transition Programs provides online resources to Ignition participants prior to their on-campus session. Students can visit ignition.kennesaw.edu and view a series of videos highlighting various aspects of Kennesaw State.
“It gives departments an equal opportunity to inform students about the services they offer,” Feraco said. “It also bridges the gap between when a student registers for their Ignition session, which often is months before, and when they actually attend the session. We want them to use their time wisely and encourage them to begin their learning process about the school before they actually step foot on campus for Ignition.”
By the end of orientation, students have learned quite a bit about life at Kennesaw State. As Ignition leader Julie Forero concluded her tour, she asked the group if anyone had any final questions or comments.
“I’m ready for college,” Mendez responded.