The Freshman Student Handbook
When I picked up a copy of the new Student Handbook, the first thing I felt was frustration. This could have been really helpful to me when I was a freshman. It would have been useful to me two weeks ago, actually. There’s a good mix of information in here, from academic information and GPA calculations to campus landmarks and student activities.
The wealth of information that this 92-page handbook offers to freshmen is invaluable and should serve as a go-to reference for every student. There’s a section on how to navigate eLION, which can always be a confusing endeavor. I would have liked to see a section on how to navigate the cluster—- that is ANGEL, however.
And while it might be unreasonable to hand freshmen a bible-sized handbook, there were a few items missing from the text that I think could have been beneficiary to incoming students. For instance, a section on the different Greek organizations. More specifically, a brief bio on particular fraternities and sororities would have been nice. Joining a frat or sorority can be one of the most important decisions a freshmen makes their first year, and thus some more information on the subject would have been ideal.
I did appreciate the Off-Campus Living addition to the handbook. Figuring out whether or not to live off-campus, and where or what you should be looking for is a lengthy decision and, if done without the proper information, it can lead you down a very slippery and expensive road.
I would also have liked to see some, or any, information on the University Park Undergraduate Association. A map of the CATA bus loops would have been nice, too. The handbook does offer a good deal on how to get involved at Penn State, as well as where and what the university has to offer in terms of activities. So my advice to freshmen: Read the handbook, use it as a guide to direct you to other sources of information, get involved and stay in school. The handbook is a great jumping off point, but don’t use it as your only source. Get out there and explore.