How to Improve Your Orientation Program

  • October 21, 2015
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You’ve worked hard all summer to prepare you’re orientation program and now its finished! Now what?

An orientation program plan should have a complete cycle, allowing you to come full circle and improve your next program. Follow these tips to not only measure success but also gain insight on how to better your program’s content and processes.

 

  1. Review The Analytics

Analyze the reports from your analytics dashboard to review most frequently missed questions, orientation completion time, and completion rate. If there were particular pages or questions that students lingered on, you may want to consider rewording it or including more videos for better comprehension.

 

  1. Follow Up With Participants

The best way to gain feedback on the effectiveness of your orientation is to ask the participants themselves. Establish an “assessment cycle”, like Univeristy of Minnesota’s, throughout the year to ensure students have the resources they need to succeed at your institution. Your first email should relate directly to the orientation and its topics and include questions like “How can we improve?” or “What did we miss”? Simplify your data collection with a free online survey tool listed here.

 

  1. Check In With Instructors

Instructors often have some of the best insight when it comes to gauging the success of students. Identify classes with a large amount of orientation participants (most likely first year classes) and speak to the professors about frequent questions they receive or any students that seem to be struggling. After, you can use that information to decide what content to include in your second and third follow-up email.

 

  1. Communicate Across Departments

Departments across higher education can often feel siloed. With individual priorities and deadlines, cross-communication can be difficult. Create a plan to communicate with relevant departments like Housing, Registrar, and Guidance Counselors to check on the overall health of first-year students and identify common issues that could be addressed in the next orientation program.

 

  1. Analyze Your Process

Self-reflection is key when it comes to improving your program year after year. Meet with your team and discuss any issues that arose while planning the orientation and how you can make tasks more efficient while maintaining quality. This is a great time to start planning for next year by adjusting timelines, revising content, and preparing all staff and faculty that are including in the process.

 

As you follow these tips, always keep in mind your overall program goals and be open to adjusting content and processes as you go.

For more strategies and tips on improving your online orientation, download our white paper for “Best Practices for Online Orientation”.