Freshers’ week is often touted as being extremely important for students’ social wellbeing at university, but determining what constitutes a good welcoming week is a topic that appears to be academically neglected.

Influencing the student experience

A 2021 study from the University of Mpumalanga, South Africa, asked 177 students to answer a 23-item questionnaire on their experience during orientation (freshers’) week.

The research was conducted in light of Tinto’s (1997) student integration model that suggests students’ success is mainly influenced by the degree to which the university integrates the students into its academic and social systems. Freshers’ week is integral to this.

The results indicate that, of the factors involving the university: clubs and societies, guided tours, and residence-based activities were the most significant in influencing students’ experiences of orientation week.

The importance of freshers’ week

Multiple regression results show that health and wellbeing, academic development, student leadership and residence life significantly predicted living and learning at the university.

A well-coordinated, systematic and meaningful orientation programme integrates students into the university’s academic and social systems and is “strongly regarded as a strong predictor for their overall success”.

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