Real Orientation Apps: UF's 20,000-Person Orientation
“Guidebook has helped us maximize our brand as a university. It really sets us apart.”
University orientations have become more than a weekend of registering for classes with a couple icebreaker events thrown in. Higher learning institutions have realized that putting effort into orientation can shape the way their students perform, impove the public’s perception of their school, and attract valuable students and faculty.
“Students understand we mean business when it comes to being a top institution, and our orientation needs to reflect that,” says Mickey Howard, Associate Director for New Student and Family Programs at the University of Florida.
Guidebook supports the transition
Each year, Mickey’s program welcomes around 8400 new and transfer students and their families–close to 20,000 people in total. His goal during their fall and spring activities? To help each student and family member have an identifiable moment when they “become a Gator”, and to empower them to maintain that sense of belonging throughout their time at the university.
Guidebook plays an important role in the growth of these relationships between students, their families, and the institution. All participants can download the orientation app and access a full schedule of activities right from their mobile phones, tablets or on the web. They can participate in photo contests, access all social media from one place, and navigate the new campus with interactive maps.
“We chose Guidebook because it’s so much more than just a scheduling app,” says Mickey. “Guidebook has all the features and design to really help us create a memorable family atmosphere.”
What do the Gators have to say?
Parents love that they can see their students’ schedules, so when they meet up for lunch they can make plans and learn about the transition activities they missed.
Students love the in-app photo contest. According to Mickey, 6,000 students participated, collectively generating more orientation photos than any previous year.
And it’s more than just a student-facing orientation app. UF even builds guides for their internal team, to keep the large numbers of students and faculty organized.
“We chose Guidebook because they have our back,” Mickey says. “The entire process from contract to assessment couldn’t be easier or more supportive.
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