Maximize Your Orientation Capabilities With These 10 Must-Have Features

Ah, orientation: the information-packed first peek at college life for new students. Both nerve-wracking and exciting, orientation sets the tone for a student’s college experience.

A survey found that students who rated their orientation experience positively were 17% more likely to continue having a positive college experience. While students with negative orientation experiences were 71% more likely to have poor academic outcomes (such as receiving lower grade point averages). Orientation sets students up for success, both academically and socially. Unfortunately, however, there’s often a disconnect between the information orientation staff sends out and what students actually receive.

And the way students receive that information is also pivotal to their success. The same study cited above also found that 48% of students preferred using an app over a school website to find campus information. So it’s easy to see why having a positive orientation experience boosted by a capable orientation app maximizes student engagement.

But not all orientation apps are created equal. Consider these ten must-have features that will improve your Fall 2021 orientation experience and maximize your orientation app capabilities to help increase student engagement, boost event turnout, and make for successful learning outcomes throughout the year.

#1 Peer-to-Peer Messaging

Need an easy way for students to meet each other before, during, and after orientation? Discover in-app messaging platforms that allow students to build relationships, even before their first orientation session.

#2 Event Schedules

Don’t let students feel overwhelmed by the number of events taking place during orientation. A platform with a clear, filterable event schedule will help students better understand which events are mandatory, which optional events align with their interests, and which are invitation-only.

And bonus points for finding a platform that automatically consolidates this information into one, centralized feed or calendar.

#3 Push Notifications

Make sure students know what’s expected of them by sending alerts, reminders, and important announcements directly to their phones -without the expensive SMS fees – that won’t go ignored (unlike email!).

#4 Directions & Maps for New Students

Whether it’s discovering a new school or a new living space, both parents and students will be happy to find directions and campus maps directly from their smartphone, helping to make parking, orientation, and move-in a cinch.

#5 Virtual Tours

Virtual tours are the perfect feature to ensure that students know how to navigate their new stomping grounds.

Or consider hosting a virtual event day that includes a few integrated virtual tours.

#6 Peer Leader Communication

Messaging between students is one thing, but students also need the ability to seamlessly communicate with RA’s, peer leaders, and college staff. A dedicated communication portal will help both students and peer leaders feel connected and heard.

#7 Dynamic Checklists

Oftentimes students are unsure of whether specific tasks apply to them. With dynamic checklists that are individualized for each student, that’s no longer a problem. Make sure every student gets their orientation paperwork in and have the power to reach out to, and nudge students who may have fallen behind.

#8 Guides

Create custom guides and upload them to your community to give students easy access to the information they need, all in one designated space.

#9 Check-In Capabilities

Have students check-in to events by using a QR code or self-check-in, allowing campus staff to track event-specific student engagement and participation.

#10 User-Friendly Interface

Today’s students have grown up with the latest and greatest technology, so they’ll be quick to turn their backs on an app that’s slow and difficult to use. While a user-friendly interface isn’t a specific feature, per se, it is an essential component that can make or break student participation on any given community solution. Make sure the orientation platform you choose is functional, looks great, and is easy to use.

What Makes for a Great Community Orientation Platform?

A great orientation platform includes customizable features, instant communication, personalized notifications, easy-to-locate campus information, and a clean interface that students will want to use.

No matter what orientation solution you choose, it’s a pivotal tool that paves the way for a positive orientation experience and improved year-long learning outcomes.