Small Pre-O’s help with college adjustment, open doors for freshmen

Scott Solomon | Class of 2019

This summer, I received an email from the First Year Center about pre-orientation programs that were offered. At first, I was unsure what these programs were, but upon further research, I realized it was something I was interested in. I mean, who wouldn’t want to move into college early? Little did I know, when I chose to participate in the “World of Politics” Pre-Orientation program, how much that experience would improve my experience as a freshman.

Unfortunately, due to the new 20-participant rule put in place by the First Year Center, future freshmen may not have the same opportunity as I did.

My participation in “World of Politics” has directly contributed to my positive experience as a freshman. One of the main components of this Pre-Orientation was a Model United Nations simulation. To be honest, when I first read our schedule, I said to my roommate, “I don’t even know what Model UN is, I’m going to hate this pre-o.” Although my initial thoughts towards Model UN were not positive, upon participating in the simulation, I knew it was a program in which I wanted to be involved.

Because of “World of Politics,” I became heavily involved in the Washington University International Relations Council, the group that encompasses our Model UN team, and my involvement with WUIRC has truly shaped my freshman year. Some of my best friends I’ve met here have been through WUIRC, and the program has introduced me to older students who I can now turn to for advice. I even had the opportunity to travel to Los Angeles for a conference with WUIRC, largely because of my involvement through the Pre-Orientation. If it wasn’t for the Pre-Orientation program, I would have never gotten involved in WUIRC in the first place and would have missed out on all of these positive experiences.

Limiting pre-orientation programs to only programs with more than 20 students is counterintuitive to the concept of a Pre-Orientation and the overall goal of the First Year Center. For a program like “World of Politics,” a larger number of students would not be beneficial. Our leaders were able to facilitate meaningful discussions and develop lasting relationships with the pre-orientation participants. I’m still close with not only my fellow pre-orientation participants, but also many of my pre-orientation leaders. I even wanted to end my summer early next year in order to move in early to staff the “World of Politics” Pre-Orientation.

Pre-orientations should help students with the adjustment of moving into college. They should help students foster relationships with other students here. They should introduce students to organizations on campus that will shape their experience. The “World of Politics” Pre-Orientation did all of these things, and abolishing it because it may not have 20 participants by an arbitrary date in mid-June would be utter nonsense.