The days of FTCAP (First-Year Testing, Consulting, and Advising Program) are over.
Penn State will be moving to a two-day, overnight program titled NSO (New Student Orientation) beginning this summer.
Daniel Murphy, one of the men responsible for implementing the program, couldn’t pinpoint a singular reason for the alterations, but said that the University received feedback from students about elements that were missing from their transition to Penn State.
The most significant modification, of course, is that incoming freshmen are now required to stay overnight during their orientation. Students will be assigned roommates (one or three depending if they’re in a double or a quad) upon arrival and will be housed in North Halls for a one-night stay. Parents will have the option to stay in a separate on-campus dormitory. No worries Mom and Dad — you’ll still have the option to make travel arrangements off-campus and/or downtown.
During the day, students will be split into small groups headed by an Orientation Leader. It is Murphy’s hope that the incoming freshmen in these groups make connections that will carry over into their first semester. During the night, summer resident assistants will be roaming the hallways to help acclimate NSOers to dorm life at University Park.
Murphy believes that the mentorship of the Orientation leaders and RAs will allow the recently graduated high school seniors to feel more comfortable before their Penn State careers commence.
“[During the former FTCAP schedule], students felt like they didn’t have a chance to meet any other students,” Murphy said. “Penn Staters love this place and we want to include the passion and personal experiences of students in our summer orientation.”
That’s not the end of the orientation revamping, though. Students will also have the opportunity to learn about the plethora of extra-curricular activities on campus. Similarly, parents will have the opportunity to network with other Penn State parents, which should have family members leaving NSO feeling more connected to Penn State than in past years.
With the implementation of the new program, comes a new student staff. Murphy is looking for dozens of social, ambitious students to orientation leaders and coordinators. The application went live today and will be up until January 23rd.
NSO will start its inaugural summer in mid-May and run through mid-July. About 220 students will take part in each of NSO’s 40 scheduled sessions. Murphy has high aspirations for the NSO’s first run.
“It is my hope that by participating in New Student Orientation new students will feel more confident, more connected and more prepared to succeed in the living and learning community that exists at Penn State,” Murphy said in an email. “This program structure provides us the opportunity to share our academic, social and community expectations with new students and their families in a way that allows them the opportunity to make more meaning of what it means to be a Penn Stater.”