Yearlong orientation planned

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In order to help incoming freshmen and transfer students better adapt to CSUN, a new yearlong mentoring program will be added to the current eight-day student orientation in Fall 2005.

More than 200 students participate in the eight-day orientation program per day that it is offered. The new Matador Mentoring Program, composed of 20 mentors, will help new CSUN students get acquainted with the campus community by keeping in touch with new students who undergo the eight-day orientation program.

The mentors will provide new students with information to help them smoothly transition from high school or community college.

“There is a big difference between college life and high school, and only a few days is not enough to help them,” said Ron Reyes, mentor.

The Matador Mentoring Program was developed after it was noticed that students needed more time to transition into university life, said Melissa Bayol, New Student Orientation coordinator.

Like the orientation program, the Student Development and International Programs conduct the Matador Mentoring Program.

“We need to target first-time freshmen and transfer students (and) try to help them in the transition,” said Hamid Jahangar, New Student Orientation coordinator.

This new program might help students view the university as a place to get involved, instead of just a commuting campus, Bayol said.

The idea for the Matador Mentoring Program was developed in 2004. Orientation leaders will be separated into two groups. One group will continue to work as new orientation leaders, and the others will become Matador Mentors, Jahangard said. He also said there would only be 20 mentor positions available.

In order to become a Matador Mentor, candidates must go through a six-month training process, Jahangar said.

“Just the connection that (CSUN) students have on campus is good for the campus, considering that there are other much smaller campuses that don’t receive the same type of participation,” Bayol said.

Those who want to participate as mentors in the Matador Mentoring Program must have at least one-year experience as a New Student Orientation leader and have a 2.5 GPA, Jahangar said.

Matador Mentors receive a $200 stipend for successfully completing the year, Jahangar said.

“We don’t want freshman to be unequipped,” Reyes said. “We want to make sure they know there is a lot of support.”

“The worst thing is being here (and) not knowing what to do and where to go,” Reyes said.

After the existing orientation, leaders keep in touch with freshmen for only a couple of days. This is not enough time for freshman to feel comfortable in college, Reyes said.

“They are not only our freshman,” Reyes said. “They are part of the CSUN community.”