Getting oriented


Freshman orientation gives students first taste of campus life.

The first step to college success started June 17.

That’s when the first group of freshmen in the Class of 2017 arrived on campus to get, well, oriented.

In the first of four two-day freshmen orientation sessions, students learned all about what to expect at Rowan, and what will be expected of them – from academic advising to money management; from where to eat to where to play; from what they can do to what they must do.

Drew Tinnin, director of orientation and student leadership programs, said Orientation doesn’t just help students familiarize themselves with Rowan before arriving for classes in a few weeks. It helps make them better students.

“This year we’re highlighting leadership opportunities,” Tinnin said. “At Rowan there are countless ways to get involved and build leadership skills. They’re the types of skills students can use in their career, whatever their career may be.”

In addition to incoming freshmen sessions, this year June 17-18, 19-20, 23-24 and 25-26, Orientation includes sessions for parents covering a wide range of topics including financial aid, safety on campus, helping students make healthy choices, and information about living on or commuting to campus.

Tinnin said the Class of 2017, at about 1,700 students, is some 100 students larger than last year’s freshmen class. The majority of students still come from New Jersey but the University draws students from across the U.S. as well as internationally. Rowan holds separate orientations for transfer and international students later this summer.

“We’re excited to be seeing more and more out-of-state students,” Tinnin said. “Rowan has a strong reputation, especially in the sciences, and that’s helping to increase the draw.”

Tinnin said students are especially intrigued with Rowan’s recent expansion, from the opening of Cooper Medical School of Rowan University in Camden last year to the integration in July of the School of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford to the bustling Rowan Boulevard project.

In addition, the planned doubling of the College of Engineering and a new home for the Rohrer College of Business continues to boost the Rowan brand, he said.

Drew Mesiano, 18, of Vineland, said he’s starting his education at Rowan as an exploratory studies major, a flexible program that enables students to take up to 60 credits as they find the best academic fit.

“Five or six of my cousins studied engineering at Rowan and I might too but I might be more inclined to business, accounting or statistics,” Mesiano said. “With exploratory studies I can take a semester or two and figure it out.”

Alexis Basantis, 17, of Medford Lakes, said she’s almost predestined to be an engineer. Both of her parents, including her mom, Melanie, outreach director for the College of Engineering, are engineers too.

“It’s only the first day of Orientation and I’ve already met a lot of people,” said Alexis, a mechanical engineering major. “It’s a good mix of fun, team-building exercises and learning what to expect at school.”

May Wong, whose son Jonathan Leung will be a freshmen history major, said she learned a lot about financial aid, registration and helping keep her child on track in Orientation sessions for parents.

“It’s helping me understand what he needs to do,” Wong said. “I like it. I like the campus. It’s going to be great.”