Honors Orientation and Student Development
One substantial benefit to being a student in The Honors College is participating in our comprehensive orientation and development program. Through this program, honors students learn many of the skills that will make them successful students and developing scholars at UAlbany. It also provides the initial opportunity for honors students to begin forming a community with their roommates, suitemates, and hallmates in honors housing.
Our comprehensive orientation program is made up of six components, each of which is designed to teach specific skills while providing honors students the opportunity to get to know each other. None are required, but all are offered to all honors students - including commuter honors students.
Summer Planning Conferences
Special programs for honors students and their parents are held at four of the two-day Summer Planning Conferences that are held each summer at UAlbany for incoming freshmen and their parents. Incoming honors freshmen are housed together during these Summer Planning Conferences, giving them the opportunity to start making friends with other honors students. At the end of the first day of each conference, the Dean hosts a reception for the parents of the honors students and holds a question-and-answer session. This gives parents a chance to get to know each other and helps to relieve their anxiety - all questions will be answered!
Incoming honors students move into their residence halls two days before other first-year students arrive on campus. Students are assigned to orientation groups, with each group led by a third-year honors student (a Person of Extraordinary Talent (POET)). POETs help the new honors students learn about UAlbany and the Honors College, and many POETs have ongoing contact with the honors students in their group throughout the academic year.
After students move into their residence halls the first day, and parents and students attend the inaugural honors lecture, delivered by the Dean in the afternoon. The orientation groups gather for the first time after the lecture. Students and parents have dinner together and parents leave at 8:00PM. Each orientation group meets with their POET for “ice breaker” activities during the evening.
The second day involves a series of activities designed to introduce the new honors students to each other, to the UAlbany campus, and the the city of Albany. During a scavenger hunt in the morning, groups are given pictures of locations around campus and a hint to help them identify each place.
They then wander around campus looking for these places. POETs are stationed at each location and each has a question about the UAlbany campus (more bonus points) and some have snacks. After lunch, groups rotate through three activities: a low-ropes course, a session on using technology at UAlbany, and a session with the Dean. Students eat dinner with their suitemates and are on their own after dinner.
The third day involves two activities, led by the POETs, that students can join on their own or in small groups: a bus tour of Albany, a walking tour of the Academic Podium (where the classrooms are located), walking to a shopping center near campus.