Honors orientations can either precede standard orientation or be folded into those institution-wide activities. Employing experienced Honors students as major participants in an Honors orientation can result in an enjoyable, relevant, meaningful experience for incoming students. Peer driven orientations-rather than administrator/instructor driven-open up opportunities for ice-breaker activities, creative thinking, and development of leadership skills. They also provide the experienced students a way to contribute to the program and offer freshmen models of successful Honors students.
Many different types of orientation activities exist, but the best approaches usually mix hands-on, active exercises with information-delivery sessions. Many orientation activities are intended to foster a sense of community among the incoming students. These activities might include a summer letter sent to freshmen from their Honors peer mentors; a common reading experience, perhaps with discussions led by peers; an informational meeting with students and parents; a sample class with Honors instructors that highlights Honors learning strategies; a scavenger hunt that allows first-year students to get to know the campus better; a writing assessment tied to the common reading; and casual meals and informal activities with new classmates.
Many orientation programs also have separate activities for parents. These might involve presentations by Honors faculty, a question and answer session with the Honors director and several current Honors students (or veteran Honors program parents), informal meetings with campus administrators, and a tour of your town or city led by a knowledgeable staff member or student.
Orientation for transfer students is somewhat more complicated, but a separate one attending to the specific needs and backgrounds of those students can be worthwhile, as well.