Graduate Student Orientation
Corresponding with Your Incoming Students
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Keeping incoming students informed about GSO and departmental activities is very important. Development Leader(s) for each department should plan to send at least two letters, or e-letters, to the incoming students. We realize that quite often budgets are extremely limited this time of year so if you have the e-mail addresses of your students feel free to send your letters via e-mail. Just make sure the subject line is descriptive so they recognize your message as legitimate university business and not spam. You might want to send e-mail with a “read receipt” request so you can be sure your students receive your correspondence.
The first letter or email is to be sent out no later than May 9th. If you send the letter out by snail- mail please check with your graduate secretary for appropriate mailing procedures. A copy of the second correspondence will be placed in the information packets assembled at the June 9th meeting. The contents of the packet will be scanned and available online from the GSO web site. If your students will be on campus during the summer you may assemble additional packets to distribute to them.
Sample letters and essential items to be covered in each are provided later in this section. If sending hard-copy letters please be sure to include your department's letterhead information and personalize the letters with the student's name and address - please do not address them as "Dear student." These letters are also available for downloading from the GSO DL web page as Microsoft Word documents that you can modify as needed.
In order to generate our database of incoming students, you will need to work with your Graduate Coordinator or Secretary to obtain the names and addresses of incoming students for your department. The list should only include all new, full- and part-time students that have not already completed GSO. The list is to be submitted to Barb via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, no later than May 20th and should be setup in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet with the following columns. Please be sure to separate the address, City, State, and Zip.
|First Name||Last Name||PID#||Address1||Address2||City||State||Zip||Country||Type of Assistantship||Degree|
This format allows for easy production of merged letters and emails to your students and are necessary for the staff to be able to import your students’ information into FileMaker Pro. When saving the Excel file please include your department name or acronym as an identifier. For example: for American Culture Studies, name the document ACS_students.xls.
If your department will not have a complete list by May 20th please submit what you have available to date. DO NOT WAIT! GSO REGISTRATION INFORMATION MUST BE POSTED ON JUNE 15th! If new students are admitted after June 15th, email their information, following the outline above, to Barb Peck as soon as possible. Please do not submit a “revised” spreadsheet that includes student information that has already been submitted. Submit only those changes for students that need to be added or removed.
Your MAY correspondence will...
- introduce you to your students and explain your role as their DL and a fellow graduate student;
- provide details of GSO week including its purpose and dates (August 14-19);
- explain that completing GSO is required for students receiving their first assistantship contract and to invite your part-time and fee-paying students to attend GSO. Stress the value of GSO attendance now in the event that they receive an assistantship at a later date. Also, this is an excellent opportunity for them to meet the other students in their department and become familiar with campus prior to the start of classes;
- there is a required orientation for all new international students (including Canadian students) organized by the Center for International Programs (CIP) August 10-12, 2011;
- session registration information will be available online beginning June 15th. Rcommend that students check the GSO web page frequently for updated info;
- provide Off-Campus Housing information such as web site: http://www.bgsu.edu/offices/sa/offcampus/page42263.html
and phone numbers. Stress the importance for them to begin making housing arrangements as soon as possible; and
- include information about how students can contact you.
The second letter will be part of the information packets that we will assemble at the June meeting. Check with your department's Graduate Secretary or Graduate Coordinator to make sure you have an updated list of incoming students for your department. Make sure that Barb Peck also receives a copy of any updated student information. If you send a revised list, make sure it is dated and highlight the changes from the original that was submitted in May.
Your JUNE letter will...
- remind students that if they are receiving their first assistantship contract in the fall and have not previously completed GradSTEP or GSO, they are required to attend. However, if they are not funded they should consider attending should an assistantship be awarded to them at a later date;
- direct their attention to your departmental programming schedule;
- confirm information about any required testing and when students will be registering for their classes;
- confirm GSO check-in times on Sunday and Monday. (Check-in on Sunday is for those students that do not register on-line for their GSO sessions by the July 15th deadline; Monday Check-in is for all pre-registered students and any students not able to check-in on Sunday);
- confirm location and time of your first meeting with students on Monday, August 15th;
- confirm dates of required International Student orientation programs (August 10-12): http://international.bgsu.edu/;
- remind students on assistantships that they must bring two original forms of identification. If they have an unexpired passport this is all they will need. If they do not have their passport they can use a driver’s license plus a second ID such as an original Social Security Card or original birth certificate;
- include information about registering for parking, housing, and child care. Let parents know that although we do not have child care available on site during GSO check-in and registration parents are welcome to bring them along; and
- update your contact information as needed should they need to contact you prior to their arrival.
The letter templates are suggested formats and provided for your convenience. Feel free to use and modify these templates or use a design of your own format if you prefer. However, if you do use your own format please make certain to include the essential information outlined for each letter.
June Information Packet Contents
Packets will be assembled at the June DL meeting. Each packet will be assembled in the following order:
- Your second letter;
- Your Departmental Programming schedule;
- Welcome letter from the GSO Director;
- The GSO Session Guide; and
- Session registration form and on-line pre-registration instructions