A Warm Welcome - Utah Admissions
Main Menu

A Warm Welcome

A Warm Welcome

New Student Orientation (NSO) is the first exciting step on your U adventure! You’ll learn about campus resources and opportunities, make new friends, and get a taste of campus life. Read on to hear from two of our Orientation Leaders about why they love what they do and what they’re excited to share with you this summer!

Finding Opportunities that fit you

Eliana Moreno, College of Engineering, ‘26

New Student Orientation (NSO) is an important part of starting your college experience off on the right foot. Coming into college is an exciting and new life change and I was definitely nervous. I had no idea where I was supposed to begin. It seemed like there were so many things that I needed to do before even setting foot on campus. I wanted to start my journey on my own because I wanted to be the independent adult that I assumed all college students were. But I was wrong. After talking to a friend, whose parent is a professor at the U, about all the important things that needed to be accomplished before starting school I realized this would be a heavy lift to bear on my own. So, after a bit of panic and a little more research into where to begin, I signed up for New Student Orientation (NSO) at the U.

I did my orientation online because we were still under the COVID-19 guidelines. While the online experience was full of information and taught me more than I thought I would ever need to know, I found being online for orientation difficult. I felt like I missed out on making those personal connections with all my first-year peers. That’s why, when I was looking for a summer job after my freshman year of college, my family sent me a picture of a poster from the Orientation Office looking for leaders for the summer orientations and extended orientation events. I decided on a whim to apply and see what orientation was like from behind the scenes.

After becoming an Orientation Leader, I was able to give people the face-to-face connection that I felt like I so desperately missed. Coming into college knowing at least a few other students who are in the same boat as you makes the overall transition and journey so much easier. It’s also very helpful to see the campus through the eyes of people who have walked it and been in your shoes. Getting to know all the campus resources and the incredible people behind them makes it easier to reach out and use the academic and personal aid available to you as a student.

My personal favorite resource is The Learning Center. While I initially came into college not wanting to take help from others, some of my classes made that really difficult. I started using The Learning Center because I remembered from NSO that they do supplemental instruction. This is not just one-on-one tutoring, it’s even better because you get to work with peers who are also struggling in the same class, which made me feel like I wasn’t alone. Unlike what I came into college thinking, this is not a solo experience! It is an experience made through the shared ups and downs that college inevitably brings to everyone, which makes finding the people you want to share the experience with even more important.

Eliana Moreno poses for a portrait by the Block U on the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, December 6, 2023.

My family always told me college is a marathon, not a sprint, but I would add that you can’t complete the marathon without support and help. So many people assume orientation on campus is just a tour, but at the U it is so much more. During orientation, you truly feel like a college student, by getting to experience a dorm for the night, climbing or working out in the Student Life Center for the first time, and eating food in the dining hall. I love that after NSO you walk away with not only a class schedule but most likely a new friend.

I cherish the opportunity to share my love of this campus with everyone. The University of Utah is unlike any other because of its beauty, access to the outdoors, and most of all the feeling of being a part of a tight-knit community. As an Orientation Leader, I love watching those connections being made!

Ignite your Passions

Victor Hollenbach, College of Engineering, ‘25

As an Orientation Leader at the U, I’ve been provided with tons of opportunities to explore the abundant campus resources available to students. Not only has this broadened my perspectives, but also fuels my passion for contributing to the U’s incredible and supportive campus community.

One of my favorite places at the U is The Summit—our world-class rock climbing wall, and a hidden gem on campus. Students seeking both physical and mental challenges can come climb, hang out, and dive into the campus recreation community. The Summit is located in the Student Life Center, which offers a diverse range of activities like basketball, swimming, pickleball, and so much more! Personally, I spend a significant amount of time there, whether hitting the gym daily, playing soccer in a Tuesday night intramural league, or indulging in my favorite treat from Shake Smart. The Summit embodies the vibrant spirit of student life and offers engaging options for all tastes. During New Student Orientation (NSO), first-year students have the option to stay overnight in the dorms and can participate in multiple after- orientation activities such as going to the life center – perhaps even getting the incredible experience of climbing at The Summit!

During my freshman year at the U, the Life Center quickly became a home away from home. I was living thirty minutes south of campus and I didn’t really have a place I could connect with people. So, when I first stumbled upon the Life Center, I instantly fell in love with the space and the opportunity to create community! To this day I still spend most of my free time there.

At NSO, I always emphasize to first-year students the University’s impressive commitment to mental health. The U recognizes the significance of mental health support and ensures that professional counseling is free to all students through the Counseling Center, a service that I, personally, utilize monthly. This commitment to holistic well-being not only enhances the overall student experience but also nurtures a community where students can flourish academically and emotionally.

The University’s Career Closet offers students the opportunity to rent professional clothing for free. Beyond addressing practical needs for interviews and professional events, this resource is part of the University’s dedication to preparing students for success beyond the classroom. It underscores a commitment to shaping well-rounded individuals ready to make a positive impact in their chosen fields. When I became an Orientation Leader I learned about this amazing resource, but I wish I had known about it sooner!

Victor Alexander Hollenbach, a junior software development major poses for a portrait outside of the Student Life Center on the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, December 6, 2023.

At NSO, I witness firsthand the incredible opportunities the U provides. The camaraderie and shared excitement display a vibrant community, where connections extend beyond lecture halls. Serving as an Orientation Leader continues to illuminate the way that the U fosters a dynamic ecosystem, committed to supporting and empowering all students. More than just an academic institution, the U offers a comprehensive toolkit for success, from specialized facilities like The Summit, to essential services like counseling and career support.

As a student, I’m continually impressed by the University of Utah’s endless opportunities and commitment to student well-being and growth. However, as an Orientation Leader, I’ve seen that what truly sets this institution apart is its people— both staff and students. Everyone is aligned with the same goal: success. The staff is committed to your success, and the students recognize and embrace the importance of this collective pursuit, actively striving to support one another. I can’t wait to see you at New Student Orientation (NSO) this summer and show you all of this in-person!