Freshman orientation at SMU or AARO is a great experience. Sure, there are times where it feels like its taking forever and you’re incredibly anxious, but it really sets you up for a great freshman year. From getting your schedule together, to touring the dorm rooms, keep reading to find out what exactly happens at freshman orientation at SMU!
1. Check in.
You’ll check in and get your room assignment for the night. Don’t stress out about your random roommate, it’s only for one night and you’ll barely be in there. I never even met mine, but I don’t know if that’s reassuring or not.
2. Take your ID picture.
This is the first thing you’ll do without your parents. The line is long and you might feel weird striking up a conversation with a completely random person but the more you talk to people, the less awkward it is. You’ll soon learn that talking to strangers is necessary to make friends during AARO.
3. Meet your SQUAD.
You’ll have an assigned group you do most activities (or watch most activities) and this will be your first chance to meet them. Meet as many of them as you can when you first get there because you’ll be spending a lot of time with them. A lot of people say you won’t stay friends with the first people you meet, but I’m still friends with four people from my SQUAD.
4. Advising Meeting
There will be a group advising meeting with people in your same “school” to discuss classes you’ll be taking. Pro tip: sit as close to the front/near the counselor’s desk as you can, this way when he/she presents the sheet to sign up for your individual advising, you’ll get first pick.
5. Sign up for classes.
This is honestly the most stressful part of AARO. You don’t have nearly enough time to choose your classes no matter how much you’ve prepared, so don’t be surprised if you don’t get all of your classes done the first day. Pro tip: don’t sign up for any classes ten minutes after PRW. You will not be able to get to that class on time no matter how hard you try. Also, look at your required classes beforehand and do research on the best professors.
6. Late Night!
This is where the vast majority of friendships are made. Hopefully you’ll have friends from your SQUAD (or other friends) by now and can meet up with them at late night. It may seem really forced and cringe-y but everyone bonds over how uncomfortable it is. Don’t go to sleep until there is nothing left for you to do or else you might miss out.
7. Individual advising to tailor your schedule.
This is where you meet one on one with your counselor to discuss your schedule and complete it if you haven’t done so yet. This is very important for getting the best schedule you can.
8. Tour of the dorms!
The last official thing that happens is dorm tours. You’ll get to see the laundry room, common area, staged dorm room, and more. Bring your tape measure if you’re considering bringing anything big to school (it’s not weird).