By Martin J. Kidston
The first day of orientation kicked off at the Montana State University-Northern campus on Monday, giving students, faculty and staff an end-of-summer wake up call that couldnt be ignored.
The lines at the cashiers window stretched through the center of Cowan Hall, while the university bookstore was backed up a mile long, as one student put it.
But opening day wasnt all madness and mayhem.
In the Hagener Science Building, Chancellor Mike Rao welcomed some 200 new students to campus, and warned them of the academic perils that lay ahead.
There will be times when you want to quit, but I urge you to stick with it, Rao told the students. Try to help me, help other people feel good and have fun but be sensible, and stay with it. I look forward to you all staying two to four years, whatever it may be.
Rao urged the freshmen to push through the hard times and persevere. Failure to do so, he warned, could adversely affect their futures, but success would come with many rewards.
In order to help the students feel more comfortable, stay in college and succeed, Associate Chancellor for Student Affairs Carol Green said incoming freshmen will be taking a different sort of test this year.
What was once known as the entrance exam, where new students had their remedial skills tested for appropriate class placement, has been replaced, Green said, by the Campus Survey Inventory. The survey is said to be more of a questionnaire than an academic brain squeeze, and is intended to exposes the needs of each student.
Its a new part of our retention management system, Green said. What it does is help us identify the students needs, and eventually, this will improve the quality of learning in life for all students. If we do this well, we wont have a retention problem.
Green explained the exam as a 195-question questionnaire. The questionnaire identifies the perceived needs of each student. Green said it was part of the schools overall retention plan.
Thats my mantra for this year, to improve the learning in life for our students, Green said.
Orientation will continue throughout the week, concluding Friday with a steam-blowing pep rally and dance on the lawn of the Student Union Building. Classes officially begin tomorrow.