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Orientation of New Students

Keep in communication with the students during the summer prior to enrollment. Correspondence, telephone calls, and/or e-mails will let the students know that they are expected and welcome.  Communication with the students gives them the opportunity to ask questions and request information.  Make an effort to attend the new Graduate Student orientation at the beginning of the Fall term. 

Relocation to Nashville can be difficult for students and many come long distances, often bringing their families with them.  Finding appropriate and affordable housing can be a challenge. Near campus housing is in short supply. Enlist the help of currently enrolled students in locating suitable and available accommodations.  Also, contact the Off-Campus Housing Office (Ext. 2-2594) for assistance and suggestions.

Having an informal social event before classes begin is a great ice-breaker.  A reception, a coffee hour, or even a picnic in one of the nearby parks might be planned. Care should be taken to assure that the event is a time for the students and faculty to interact in an informal, non-academic setting.  An off-campus location lends to the social nature of the occasion and decreases anxiety.  Families should be included.

Students, individually and/or as a group, should meet with the DGS prior to the beginning of the semester to orient the students to the department or program and to Vanderbilt University.  This would be a good time to discuss and distribute information about the program’s curriculum and research interests, the rules and regulations of the department, and the program’s philosophy of graduate education.  At the time of this meeting, students can be given preliminary help with their schedules for the semester.  Information concerning the university facilities (libraries, cores, recreation center, etc.) and research activities in related disciplines should be mentioned as well.  The students should be made aware of what is available to them as a graduate student at Vanderbilt University.