Orientation is best way for new students to start

Around Campus

Posted: Wednesday, December 12, 2001

Spring semester is just around the corner with the first day of classes beginning Jan. 7. Kenai Peninsula College encourages anyone planning to attend college for the first time to come to the new student orientation. Sessions are planned for 9 a.m., noon, and 6 p.m. Jan. 2. To reserve a space, call Student Services at 262-0330.

Why take the time to attend the orientation? Aligning yourself for success in college is much more than just signing up for classes. New student orientation enables students not familiar with college to make informed choices and plan their time effectively. Attending the orientation allows a student to become familiar with the campus, meet instructors and work out a program that will meet their needs.

The first step in orientation is for the new student to complete an ASSET assessment evaluation. The ASSET is used by counselors as a tool to measure the student's math and English skills and is required for many subjects and for admission to a degree program.

The ASSET should be completed prior to the orientation so advisers have a meaningful starting place to begin working with students. To make an appointment to take the assessment, contact the Learning Center at 262-0327.

During new student orientation, students will receive information outlining the various departments and services available at KPC. The college's counselors will discuss what new students can expect in a college setting. However, the majority of the orientation will come from advisers. Student advisers are trained to help new students with the details of campus life.

It is recommended that a student be admitted into a degree program, and KPC has a variety of degree and certificate programs to choose from. The two-year associate of arts degree will meet the general education requirements of any four-year college degree. Students still searching for the right career can focus on this defined goal and be more successful in their college careers.

Being admitted to KPC is different than just registering for classes. When admitted, students are enrolled into a degree program with defined class requirements and suggested course sequencing. They then register for the classes they need as determined by the degree program. It is important to note that if you want to attend KPC and take a class that interests you, admission is not required; you just register for the class you want.

New student orientation includes a tour of the campus and information about financial aid and scholarships. The financial aid department encourages all new students who anticipate needing financial aid to contact them immediately at 262-0332.

If at all possible, it's best not to wait for new student orientation as the aid process can take from four weeks up to six months, depending on the type of aid applied for. Planning is the key to success when applying for help with financial aid. Don't let lack of money keep you from improving your education.

State-financed loans are available at 7.9 percent interest for both part-time and full-time students. Part-time students are those taking six to 11 credits, and the loan can finance all tuition, books, fees and supplies. Full-time students take 12 or more credits and are eligible to borrow up to $8,500 per year for tuition, books, fees, supplies and living expenses.

Federal aid may include grants, work-study programs and loans. Federal loans are available at 5.39 percent interest, and freshmen can borrow up to $2,625 per year. In addition to loans and grants, a variety of both campus-based and community-based scholarships are available for students to apply for. Don't hesitate to call Carrie or Marie at 262-0332 to find out what aid is right for you.

New student orientation takes approximately two hours. For the serious student who wants to succeed in college, orientation attendance will reap countless rewards.

This column is provided by Suzie Kendrick, community relations coordinator at Kenai Peninsula College.

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