Southern Oregon University typically introduces newly admitted students to life at SOU via Raider Receptions, touring them around campus in tight-knit groups. Then come the Raider Registrations, where students-to-be meet with academic advisors, schedule classes and get set for enrollment.
COVID-19 precautions prevent incoming students from seeing all that the SOU campus offers, so this year’s incoming class of first-year and transfer students are being informed of SOU’s attributes and amenities by way of digital Raider Receptions and remote Raider Registrations.
“Raider Reception is meant to be a celebration of your admission to the university, as well as to provide information about the enrollment process,” Ian Parent, associate director of admissions at SOU, says in a video element of the digital reception.
“Throughout Raider Reception, we will address the next steps for enrollment,” he says. “In doing so, you will hear from current students, campus professionals and alumni on topics such as the enrollment deposit, Raider Registration, financial aid, housing, student life and much more.”
Living arrangements – including the housing contract for future students who will be staying in SOU’s residence halls – and Raider Registration events are among the key next steps following the Raider Receptions for those who have applied or been admitted to the university.
“One of the more exciting steps in the enrollment process is Raider Registration,” Parent says in the video. “There are multiple Raider Registration events throughout the summer. Some are for first-year students and some are for transfer students. Ultimately, it is at Raider Registration where you will meet with a Student Success Coordinator or faculty member and register for your fall classes.”
This summer’s Raider Registration events are live, remote group meetings on set dates, and only a few remain for fall term: on Saturday, July 18 and Friday, Aug. 7 for first-year students; and on Friday, July 10 and Saturday, Aug. 8, for transfer students.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many of the topics covered in the Raider Reception events. Most student life activities – including operations at the Student Recreation Center and events through the Outdoor Program – have been canceled through the summer. And SOU Dining is limited for now to take-out options through The Landing convenience store that is part of The Hawk dining commons.
SOU is planning for a mix of in-person and remote academic and other offerings for fall term, but flexibility is a key as the pandemic remains unpredictable and student wellness is the university’s top priority.
The goal of the university has been to make the preliminary steps to becoming a student as easy as possible, given the obstacles created by the pandemic. For instance, only incoming students who have paid their $300 enrollment deposits are typically eligible for Raider Registration events and to prepare housing contracts. But the university has deferred payment of the enrollment deposit to a later date as part of its COVID-19 response, allowing new students to make headway toward enrollment before making a financial commitment.
The digital Raider Reception includes a video walkthrough by director of financial aid Kristen Gast, who details some of the other ways SOU is helping its students pay for college.
“Me and my staff are so thrilled to welcome you to be a part of the Raider family,” Gast says. “My office is dedicated to making sure that you have all of the resources available to you to be able to afford to complete your degree here at SOU.”
The online reception ends with links to a number of supplemental videos that address the concerns of and opportunities for new students. Topics include Raider athletics, transferring to SOU, Honors College at SOU, student and alumni testimonials, the Veterans Resource Center, disability resources, the Western Undergraduate Exchange tuition program, Army ROTC, the Degree in Three program, the Study Away and exchange program, the Bridge Program that helps underrepresented students transition to college and North State Promise tuition advantage for northern California students.
Story by Blair Selph, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer