New Student Orientation draws over 1,300 high school grads to campus

Student ambassadors helped direct students to a New Student Orientation event on the Union Avenue Campus in June.

Southwest Ambassadors had a busy summer greeting more than 1,300 new students at 11 New Student Orientation (NSO) events this June, July, and August on the Union Avenue and Macon Cove campuses, and at the Whitehaven and Maxine A. Smith Centers.  The NSO events provided an opportunity for administration, staff, and student leaders to welcome students to the Saluqi family and answer questions about registration, financial aid, advising, and how to access the many support services the college offers.  

Associate Vice President of Enrollment Services Dr. Shanita Brown said the events are a good way for new students to meet people, hear from current students about their experience, and sit down with academic advisors who will help them plan their class schedule as they embark on their journey at Southwest. “We know the transition from high school to college is difficult,” Brown said. “But we are here to help prepare our incoming students for what’s ahead. We have a variety of student services at NSO that are designed to help students not only transition, but also lay the foundation for them to thrive at Southwest.”

By attending the orientation, students are able to pre-register for class, meet one-on-one with an advisor, and be better prepared when they arrive on campus in the fall. Associate Director of K-12 and Community Partnerships Shawn Boyd said many area high schools were represented at the events. He was very pleased by the turnout. “There were 1,666 students who registered and 967 who actually came to the events on campus,” Boyd said. “And we had another 464 who walked in and 396 online orientation students.”

Jacob Spencer, a recent graduate of Bartlett High School, found the orientation session he attended at the Union Avenue Campus to be very helpful. He chose Southwest to earn an associate degree before he transfers to a four-year college. “I’m going to do my pre-requisite classes here and then transfer to the University of Memphis to do psychiatry for pre-adolescents and then go to med school,” said Spencer.

Jahkayla Thomas graduated from Memphis Academy of Science and Engineering. She says attending Southwest was affordable because of Tennessee Promise and she likes the student services that will be there to help her once she enrolls. “Everybody here was very helpful and there are a lot of services to help you when you get here if you need them,” Thomas said. “And it was more convenient than going to a university. It will be less money that I have to pay.”

The new students were able to quiz Southwest Ambassadors about their own academic experience at the college. When asked what she likes best about Southwest, Ambassador Cassie Fisher said the college is like one big family. “It really is a great environment to be around,” Fisher said. “Everyone wants to help. The faculty really have the passion to help you pass your classes.”


Shawn Boyd explains the orientation process to new students during an NSO event.

Southwest ambassadors field questions about their academic experience at New Student Orientation.