University City

Orientation programs prepare new students for college life at UNCC

Orientation counselors introduce themselves to the transfer students and their families during the Student Orientation, Advising and Registration program at UNC Charlotte.
Orientation counselors introduce themselves to the transfer students and their families during the Student Orientation, Advising and Registration program at UNC Charlotte. Marty Price

It doesn’t matter if you are a freshman or a transfer student, there is a lot to learn about the campus at UNC Charlotte.

The Student Orientation, Advising and Registration (SOAR) Programs during the summer were designed to help these students adjust to their new school, which starts classes on Aug. 24.

A total of 275 transfer students, along with their family members, came to one of the recent SOAR sessions at the Student Union Building. After spending the night on campus, the new students were treated to a tour by one of the 28 orientation councilors, selected from 176 applicants.

Two of those councilors, Reggie Cobbins and Reagan Brown, both sophomores and 19, started training in May and knew the campus well. They had been working all summer as UNC Charlotte conducted 12 SOAR programs for freshmen and eight SOAR programs for transfer students in June and July.

Walking backwards, the pair faced the group as they led them from the Student Union Building, around the campus and back, pointing out sites while answering questions. Cobbins said that the toughest question presented to him was, “How many bricks did it take to build the campus?” He said he didn’t know the answer. The question most people get wrong is when he asks about the school’s colors.

“A lot of people think they’re green and yellow, but actually they’re green and white,” he said.

Emily Jensen, associate director for New Students and Family Services at UNCC, said the university expects to enroll 3,450 new freshmen and about 2,800 transfers this fall, totaling 6,250 new students. In the spring semester, about 1,000 more transfer and 100 freshmen students will start.

“We have the largest incoming transfer population of any institution in the state and the fastest-growing,” she said. “We’re excited to get them acclimated to campus and ready to show their Niner pride here at UNCC,” said Jensen.

Jensen said that during the two-day visit, the students attend presentations, meet with orientation councilors and interact with other students, “so that they can build relationships before they start their classes.”

Salisbury resident Annalee Garrison, 20, and Charlotte resident Maria Vallejo, 18, had started building one of those relationships. The two met at an early session and decided to tour the campus together.

Garrison, transferring from Rowan Cabarrus Community College, said she had not picked a major, and she was looking forward to sitting down with an adviser.

“After two years at RCCC, I’m ready to leave the community college and go to a university,” said Garrison.

Vallejo, transferring from Central Piedmont Community College, said she enjoyed the SOAR program. “I liked it a lot. It is going to help me fit in at UNC Charlotte and help me transition from a community college,” she said.

Garrison agreed and said, “You get to see everything and meet new people. It is great way to start your first semester here.”

Marty Price is a freelance writer:

Learn more:

▪ UNC Charlotte is expecting 28,000 students this fall.

▪ The last SOAR session is Aug. 20-21, for freshmen and transfer students.

▪ For more information on the UNC Charlotte SOAR program, go to

▪ To register for the last SOAR session, go to