10 Amazing College Orientation Ideas to Welcome Incoming Students

Article by BlissLights LLCFri, Aug 19, 22
10 Amazing College Orientation Ideas to Welcome Incoming Students

College orientation can be an incoming student’s first glimpse into how their campus life will go. You can plan this big, momentous occasion in ways that make the transition from high school to college super fun and exciting. Welcome incoming freshmen into the family and get them pumped to start a new life experience with the below college orientation ideas.

What should be included in college orientation?

College orientation programs are a great way to introduce the new student body to campus as well as each other. A great orientation also provides helpful information that can make adjusting to college life easier. Most programs include some or all of the following college orientation ideas – all of which you can make an immersive experience.

  • Talks and discussions regarding campus rules and regulations, honor codes, and academic policies
  • Information booths for student groups, clubs, and organizations in community service, sports, languages, theater, science, and more
  • Advising sessions
  • Campus tours of dining halls, residence halls, gyms, libraries, and other general locations
  • Sessions on financial aid, work-study programs, and study abroad opportunities
  • Social events and ice breakers

college students laughing working on laptops

How do I make college orientation fun?

Students are taking in a lot of information at orientation – typically in a very short timeframe. The best way to boost student engagement is through orientation activities that give them a break from just listening to speakers all day. Events such as scavenger hunts, dance parties, theater performances, and dinners can encourage students to relax, make new friends, and enjoy the start of a new adventure.

How do I make online college orientation fun?

Online college orientation is becoming a popular option for students who can’t attend in person. Although everyone will learn the same ideas and knowledge as with in-person orientation, online programs might lack the same community vibe. To make online student orientation fun, consider these ideas:

  • Virtual orientation bingo
  • Online office games such as Kahoot
  • Social media challenges
  • Virtual team trivia
  • Digital mentors
  • Blind “buddy” dates
  • Welcome packages with lots of swag and goodies

Tips for a successful college orientation week

A successful college orientation can set the stage for an unforgettable first semester. Make the most out of your time introducing new students to campus with the below tips.

  • Entertainment is everything. One of the best ways to keep students interested is through tons of entertainment. Dance groups, photo booths, acappella clubs, comedy sketches, movie nights and more can capture your audience’s attention and help them feel more at ease.
  • Mix up the activities. Keep your group of students grounded and attentive through information-based sessions and activity-based sessions. Move the group to new locations for each activity too. This way, students aren’t sitting in the same place for too long or getting antsy and tired. Instead, you’ll be bringing them into their college community.
  • Pop culture references are your friend. Making your content relatable can help keep everyone focused and having fun. Orientation leaders and speakers can include memes, GIFs, and pop music references in presentations to lighten the mood. But only do this if you actually know what you’re talking about and understand the joke. This way, you set an inclusive mood where you and the group all see eye to eye.
  • Make it interactive. To ensure everyone is listening and staying present, include interactive elements so students can participate in the discussion. Questionnaires, games, and polls are just a few activities that can help college students retain more information and jump into campus life.
  • Swag for everyone: If there’s one thing every new student loves, it’s free swag. Spread school spirit through T-shirts, sunglasses, bags, water bottles, and lanyards. It’s a great way to help new students feel like they’re truly one with the campus.

10 college orientation ideas for on-campus and remote

No matter whether your college orientation is happening on-campus or virtually, there are endless ways to keep things exciting, engaging, and entertaining. Check out these college orientation ideas to bring the ultimate college experience to your group of incoming students.

1. Orientation bingo

Put a spin on this classic game with “new connections” bingo. Your students will have to walk around and find others who meet the bingo squares’ criteria. The squares may include statements such as, “lived in another country,” “has a strange talent,” and “first in the family to attend college.” The more everyone gets to know each other, the more you’re building a comfortable world for them all.

If your orientation is virtual, students can play this game with video conferencing software. In both scenarios, five squares in a row is a win, but students can’t use the same name more than once. For larger orientations, consider dividing into small groups so everyone can interact more easily and start making friendships that could last a lifetime.

2. Student welcome party

At the end of the day, after sitting through countless information sessions, let everyone unwind, relax, and mingle at a welcome party. This gives the incoming students a chance to make new friends outside the classroom. Make sure to fill the room with plenty of good food such as pizza and ice cream, and provide all kinds of activities. Ping-pong, air hockey, movie screenings, inflatables, and jumbo Connect Four are sure to keep everyone entertained throughout the event.

No student welcome party is complete without music and dancing. Enhance the party with a Sky Lite Evolve to transform the dance floor into an exhilarating intergalactic atmosphere. You can shine colorful sparkling stars and revamped nebula clouds above the dancers and rotate the Evolve in any direction. Right from your phone screen or via voice control, you can invite everyone to an orientation in a galaxy far away.

sky lite evolve effect
sky lite evolve smart multicolor galaxy projector

Sky Lite Evolve: Smart Galaxy Projector


The latest evolution in smart galaxy lighting.

3. Team trivia challenges

Trivia is the perfect virtual or in-person activity for incoming students to learn more about their school while making a few new friends. During team trivia, you’ll divide your students into smaller groups that will work together to answer questions for points. A good mix between educational and entertaining questions can keep students present in the game – and in the moment.

4. Bucket lists

Some students might show up to their first day on-campus with a bucket list of must-do activities. Break the students up into smaller groups to brainstorm what they might want to do or try during their time in college. To inspire the crowd, you can suggest some of your favorites such as attending a football game, volunteering, or participating in campus traditions. Open the floor to the crowd and watch the room become a universe of exciting ideas.

5. Dorm room decor contest

Students living on-campus for the first time often decorate their dorm rooms so they can feel more at home and comfortable. You can turn this into a friendly competition through a dorm room decor contest. Participants can snap photos of their creative decor and submit them using a hashtag on social media to win gift cards or dorm lighting accessories. It’s a new student’s first steps toward seeing their on-campus life in a whole new light.

6. Campus tour

Navigating a new campus all alone can be nerve-wracking, especially in a rush on the first day of classes. You can assist incoming students in learning the ropes through a campus tour. Teach them the best way to get around, show them some popular locations, and get them familiar with some buildings. This way, when the semester starts, they can walk around campus like it’s their own precious sanctuary.

7. Silent disco

You can create a memorable orientation evening with an exhilarating silent disco. What’s special about a silent disco is that the music is being played directly into each student’s personal pair of headphones. That way, students can take the headphones off and have conversations with their new friends, then put them back to dance the night away.

8. Sharing fun facts

Students might more easily relax and feel comfortable when everyone shares a little bit about themselves. Go around and ask each student to share a fun or unique fact. Allow everyone to chat about each answer, and encourage students to “prove” their fact if it involves a talent. You’ll be sure to get lots of laughs and excitement during this ice breaker, transforming your orientation into the start of meaningful college friendships.

group of smiling college students

9. Welcome packages

Both in-person and online students will appreciate a welcome package full of gifts. Especially for non-traditional students who won’t be coming to campus, a gift package can make them feel like they’re part of the university family. Sending them a package ahead of orientation with posters, swag, information, and personalized notes all but brings your campus right to them.

10. School spirit Jeopardy

Put the students’ knowledge to the test with school spirit Jeopardy. Split everyone into teams so they can connect with new classmates and participate in some fun competition. Include prompts about campus resources, university traditions, campus history, and other fun or helpful campus life facts.

To take your Jeopardy game to the next level, shine the BlissRadia to match your school’s colors and set the mood for a friendly match. You can shine the BlissRadia in any rainbow color or set it to color-changing gradients. You can change the effects via your phone or voice control for a seamless way to dim the lights for final Jeopardy. Your students will feel both like they’re on a game show and right at home.

blissradia smart ambient mood light in ocean blue
blissradia is an led ambient light with app control that shines in multiple colors

BlissRadia Smart LED Mood Light


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Show off your school spirit with BlissLights

New student orientation is all about greeting everyone with open arms and getting them ready for their first year at college. Everyone should be having a good time, learning important information, and meeting their future classmates. With the right college orientation ideas, you can foster this welcoming environment. BlissLights can make all these ideas feel extra immersive and unforgettable. Browse the BlissLights collection to provide a college orientation experience like no other.

About BlissLights

BlissLights has been a leader in the laser lighting industry since the company was founded in 2006. Our team of experienced engineers and technicians helped create award-winning special effect lighting for major theme parks before minaturizing ourpatented technology for home use. BlissLights is dedicated to laser safety and education, and is registered with the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH).

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