Jocelyn Rincon stood waiting anxiously with her mother in a line of students that snaked across the Encinitas lawn.
The students were anticipating the start of a three-day, two-night orientation program for incoming freshmen. Both Jocelyn and her mother, who attended the one-day parent orientation, were eager to learn about all that Cal Poly Pomona has to offer.
“I’m nervous, but also really excited,” Jocelyn said, twisting her hair. “I’m worried about signing up for classes, since most of the other students have already registered. That’s one of my big concerns.”
Jocelyn, who graduated from Montebello High School, let her passion for baking and dream to open her own cupcake shop guide her to Cal Poly Pomona’s Collins College of Hospitality Management.
From June through August, approximately 8,000 students and family members attended orientation sessions at Cal Poly Pomona. The university requires all freshman and incoming transfers to attend the program, which offers a comprehensive guide to academic requirements, success strategies and campus involvement.
Students who attend the three-day orientation program receive a wealth of information on topics like financial aid, on-campus living, the Wellness and the Career Center. In the evenings, the group activities and Poly Nights show the incoming students the social and community aspects of being a Bronco.
Cecilia Santiago-González, senior coordinator for Orientation Services, explained that the programs would not be possible without the involvement and support of many groups on campus. They work year-round to prepare and train to meet the needs of incoming students.
Those on the front lines are the orientation leaders– current students, who promote a positive campus experience and connect with the new students in small groups to provide valuable insight on Cal Poly Pomona.
“My leader, Moises, was amazing,” Jocelyn said. “He was enthusiastic and great at giving us his personal opinion from his experiences at Cal Poly Pomona.”
After attending orientation and successfully registering for classes, Jocelyn’s concerns are eliminated and she looks forward to starting in the fall. She plans to live on campus and get involved by joining clubs related to the culinary arts and event planning.
Jocelyn’s new-found confidence is exactly what Orientation Services strives for. They know the combination of a comfortable learning environment, thorough lesson plans and a healthy dose of school spirit is the perfect recipe to transform high school students into prepared college students.
“The first day you’ll notice students are really quiet and by the end of the third day they are hugging each other and taking pictures,” Santiago- González said. “They feel confident that when they come back in the fall, they are going to have the tools to succeed.”
(Photo: Selyna Beverly, an engineering undergraduate advisor, talks with incoming freshman engineers during orientation.)