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Orientation introduces new students to college life

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Students at an 'in-person' orientation.

Students will find answers to their questions during the orientation.

New students will never be disoriented again thanks to PCC’s helpful orientations. There are two ways to take orientation – in person or online. The online version is on the Web site located at and takes about a half hour.

"It’s pretty popular to do it online," said Jeff Guenther, peer advisor and engineering student. "It’s a convenience factor because you can complete it any time you want."

But some students like the in-person orientation because they can talk to either an admissions specialist or an advisor if they have questions. The sessions are not large – typically no more than 10 students are in attendance — and there are plenty of opportunities to get answers to nagging questions. Remember, if you are a new student you will not be able to register for courses until you complete an orientation.

"I recommend all students to go through orientation before seeing advisors and registering for classes because when you go see advisors some things make more sense," Guenther cautioned.

The orientation encompasses every facet of college life at PCC. The admissions representative goes over what students’ placement test scores, the class schedule, student handbook, the selection of academic programs and more.

"We give you your options so you can sit down with an advisor and you can finish the conversation (of what you need to do)," said Dennis Bailey-Fougnier, associate dean of student development.

The session also covers what services are available at the college such as student government opportunities, childcare, career center, counseling, financial aid, writing and math labs, library, multicultural initiatives, tutoring, and more. Orientation is offered at four PCC locations – each of the three comprehensive campuses and the Southeast Center. It usually takes about two hours. The online version is about 30 minutes and can be done any time.

"Your college is literally the city of Portland. You can take classes that are best for you and take them at campuses that are close to home," said Bailey-Fougnier.

In the future, Bailey-Fougnier hopes to make orientation even more of an event. He says the college is planning to have weekend orientation parties that will go over the same information that they cover now, but incorporate more games, prizes and refreshments. "It will be much more in the spirit of, ‘Congratulations you’re a student now’," he said. "It will be a time to celebrate the students, work on retention and have them feel that there is somebody here to talk to."

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, has been the Communications Specialist for the Office of Public Affairs at Portland Community College since November of 1999. A graduate of Portland State University, J... more »


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