Information for

The Orientation Working Group will continue the planning process in the coming months. Here is what we know right now: 


  • A finalized schedule (.pdf) has been developed for Orientation 2016 that provides first-year students with choice, facilitated downtime and the opportunity to be challenged and supported in their transition
  • A set of learning outcomes has been developed to guide the program planning process of Orientation. The Orientation schedule continues to be developed with broad consultation and it will be shared when it becomes available.
  • Training Orientation leaders also continues to be a priority. Ensuring that leaders have the information they need and the skills to support first-year students and their transition is essential. 

Authentic support

  • To ensure the successful implementation of Orientation, greater role clarity is required. This area focuses on further identifying key stakeholders in Orientation, their role, training and recognition for their efforts


  • By establishing a number of different communication plans, we can ensure that key stakeholders are informed about Orientation and are able to identify opportunities to support and engage our first-year students. Communication plans will be established for first-year students, Orientation leaders, community and campus partners, and parents and family members.
  • A communication philosophy has also been developed whereby communication will be:
    • Timely
    • Simple
    • Concise
    • Responsive
    • Student-centered 

Resource use

  • It is important to provide new students with campus and community resources that will assist them in their transition to UWaterloo and the surrounding area.  Working closely with student leaders and campus and community stakeholders, we will ensure that resources are communicated to new students by the right representative at the right time.  

Tools and measures

  • An assessment strategy will be developed for a variety of key stakeholders involved in Orientation including: first-year students, Orientation leaders, parents, and the broader campus stakeholders. Data will be utilized to assess the success of Orientation 2016 and for decision making for future years. 
  • The integration and development of self-reflection is a key part of a first-year student’s transition.  By providing opportunities for facilitated down-time and well-trained orientation leaders, our incoming students can feel support and have the skills and resources required to navigate the emotions of their transition.   

Learning outcomes

The following outcomes were developed in consultation with the Orientation 2016 planning process working group. It serves as a foundational document in developing the program planning for Orientation. The outcomes are divided into categories of: what we want the student to feel, what opportunities we want the students to be given or to have, what we want the students to understand, what we want the student to be familiar with and what we want the student to learn overall. Each aspect of the program planning for Orientation must aim to meet the outcomes in the different categories.

Upon the successful completion of Orientation we want the students...

to feel:

  • a part of the University of Waterloo community

  • a part of their faculty community

to have the opportunity:

  • to reflect on their feelings transitioning to the University of Waterloo

  • to meet student leaders from their faculty

  • to meet other students new to the University of Waterloo
  • to meet Staff and Professors in their faculty
  • to connect with their residence/off-campus community

to have a stronger understanding:

  • of the academic expectations in their faculty

  • of where to go for help with their academics
  • of what Academic Integrity means at the University of Waterloo and how they can uphold these expectations and policies
  • of how to navigate campus
  • of the Federation of Students and the services provided by their Student Government
  • of key campus systems including: Quest, Learn, Portal, WatCard and the Waterloo website
  • of what opportunities exist to get involved at the University of Waterloo, and the importance of maintaining a balanced lifestyle
  • of the health and safety provisions on our campus, including being knowledgeable about Police Services, Health Services, and general campus safety and wellness
  • of the co-op process (co-op students only)
  • of the key cultural traditions and processes in Canada, know where to go for support, and feel comfortable managing their cultural transition (international students only)
  • of the City of Waterloo and how they can be involved in the broader Waterloo Community
  • of how the University of Waterloo can support them in their transition and their ongoing development as a student

Other Audiences

  • Upon successful completion of their volunteer position, upper-year leaders will have had the opportunity to support first-year transition by passing on their knowledge and experiences while furthering their personal growth and development.

  • Parents and family members will have a stronger understanding of the supports available to their student at the University of Waterloo.