Freshman Success Begins with Orientation

Aug. 8 2016 | Joliet, Ill.

The University of St. Francis is known for many things– its Franciscan charism, a home-like campus environment, and many welcoming faces. Students also feel that professor accessibility is high and a major asset to their academic achievements. That’s because student success is top priority for faculty and administrators alike. “Student success is a part of our mission and something we strive to achieve everyday through one-on-one relationships and student-focused programming,” says Mollie Rockafellow, Director of Student Life.

While faculty and administrators do as much as possible to see students succeed, one place students can get a head start on their college career is their freshman orientation.

Orientation weekend is manned by an entire board of USF faculty, administrators, fellow students and members of the Student Life, University Ministry and Student & Alumni Affairs staff. Their only goal over four days is to acquaint new freshmen with campus before classes begin. Freshmen will cover a variety of topics from campus safety to student diversity.

“Orientation is a huge key for student success. Students who attend all sessions of orientation are overall more likely to stay at USF for all four years and tend to achieve higher GPAs,” observes Rockafellow.

One unique aspect of Freshman Orientation is the Foundations course, “Bona Ventura: Navigating the Cosmic Voyage.” This course is a foundation for a liberal arts education and college life. The course discusses several aspects of life, mankind and civilizations across time. As students begin this new chapter of their life, it also encourages them to look ahead to the kind of world they want to create with their actions with the knowledge of the past in mind.

Many professors from several disciplines will teach these courses, bringing their own unique perspectives to the material. “That is what is great about Foundations,” says Rockafellow. “The professors were selected specifically for the course because of their unique ability to connect with freshman students. Students will build relationships with their professors, mentors and peers based on these courses. This class will make an enormous difference in helping students succeed their first semester.”

Students are encouraged to use the orientation to the fullest and take advantage of the group activities and entertainment provided. Many new friendships and connections are waiting to be made during this time.

For questions concerning orientation, please contact Mollie Rockafellow at or 815-740-3381.

The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves 3,700 students nationwide, offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are 47,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.