Orientation to move online for incoming Iowa State freshmen


Enrollment at Iowa State for the upcoming fall semester is expected to still decline compared to previous years, but there will be a high amount of new freshman and transfer students, according to enrollment projections. 

Avery Staker

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, portions of Iowa State’s summer orientation will be moving online to ensure the safety of incoming students and their families.

Director of New Student Programs Sarah Merrill stated that the move was a difficult decision to make, but the university promises to provide new students with a warm welcome in the fall of 2020. 

Merrill notified the families of incoming students March 30 that New Student Programs will be providing a “top-notch virtual experience” for this year’s orientation and adding a Week of Welcome prior to move-in in August 2020.

“We hope this adjustment will be just a footnote in your epic adventure,” Merrill said in a statement.                                    

New students and their families will be invited by the university to complete a series of tasks June 1-26. The topics covered in these tasks include campus resources, college planning, financial aid and much more. New students will also be able to schedule online appointments with their academic advisors to register for fall classes.

Registration for the optional Week of Welcome will begin May 4. If registered, students will be able to move into campus housing Aug. 15 or Aug. 16 to participate in Week of Welcome activities Aug. 17-19. This week will allow new students to explore their academic college, get to know Ames and Iowa State’s campus and obtain their student ID. 

The annual Destination Iowa State event will still take place prior to the start of classes Aug. 20-22. 

“When I heard that orientation was moved online, I was bummed out but not surprised,” said Mariah Hoeger, graduating senior of Western Dubuque High School in Epworth, Iowa, and incoming Iowa State freshman. “It is in the best interests of public health, so I understand why it had to happen. […] The Week of Welcome will be nice to get a better feel of campus and Ames and to make a lot of friends.”

Merrill signed off the New Students Program announcement with an assuring quote from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings: “‘I wish it need not have happened in my time,’” said Frodo. ‘So do I,” said Gandalf. “And so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.’”