The New Orientation Experience: Making Advising and Career Planning Central to the Process

Document Type


Presentation Date


Conference Name

American College Personnel Association (ACPA) 2014 Annual Convention

Conference Location

Indianapolis, IN


In the spring of 2012, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) created a new program entitled “First Advising.” The goal of this program was to provide specialized advising to specific groups of students, increase one-on-one interaction with advisors, and integrate career planning as part of the initial advising process. Instead of a day-long orientation with a wide variety of programming, IPFW opted to provide much of their orientation programming on-line prior to a shorter on-campus event. Each academic department also developed their own system of setting up additional advising appointments for new students, assuring that students connected with their advisor several times during their first semester and year.

One of the most distinctive elements of this new plan was a pilot program focused on working with deciding, exploring, conditional and undecided Arts & Sciences students. This group represents students who have yet to choose a major or students who must meet some additional criteria before gaining admission into their major of choice. They are advised in the Mastodon Advising Center (MAC), named after the university's mascot. In the summer of 2013, MAC and the Office of Career Services collaborated on a new kind of orientation. The most exciting new element was the inclusion of the iStart Strong career assessment, which students completed online prior to their campus orientation day.

The program will begin with an introduction to the relevant literature, move on to a description of the program components and then wrap-up with data collected from participating students and recommendations for future program improvements.

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