University of Sydney, Australia
The Faculty of Arts and Social Science at the University of Sydney holds an annual Welcome Day on the Monday of Orientation Week as part of a suite of programs designed to facilitate the transition from school to university and to improve the first year experience. In recent years, that event attracts over a thousand new undergraduate students and two hundred student mentors. Data collected about the students who do and don't attend this event indicates that part-time, 'mature-age' students (over 25+), and late-arriving international students tend not to attend this important transition event. This poster presentation highlights an initiative held in Week 1 of Semester 1 2014 to capture some of those students. Held at dusk, in the Library, the event provides an intimate and informal setting for students to meet librarians, student mentors, and key support staff from e-learning. Importantly, it offers new students the opportunity to meet other students and to form a cohort. We recognize that with the widening participation agenda and the increased diversity of students now enrolling in higher education, not all students are available for vital orientation activities traditionally scheduled during the day in Orientation Week and many may not necessarily see 18-year-old recent school leavers as their peer group. This poster presentation will report on the effectiveness of the pilot.