Springboard to learning

by Paula Polglase


Male student shaking hands with female student over a table.The college applications and acceptances have been announced and the graduation ceremonies completed.  Now it is time for James Madison University’s Orientation office to acclimate the university’s newest students to JMU.  With responsibility for transitioning the transfer students and the Class of 2017, Orientation takes a three-prong approach to welcoming students to the Madison experience that includes The One Book, Summer Springboard and 1787 August Orientation. 

The One Book and companion website are an incoming student’s one-stop-shop to all the important steps, details and information needed to begin transitioning to JMU.  Summer Springboard, a one-day on-campus orientation for students and their parents, takes place starting June 24 and ending July 18.  According to Director of Orientation Tisha McCoy-Ntiamoah, several changes have been made for the Class of 2017 including the format of orientation dates by college, the addition of the college presentations and students completing their class enrollment before attending Summer Springboard.

In the first step of orienting to JMU students utilize the One Book, completing academic placement tests, applying for housing and searching class offerings and majors.  More importantly, they explored enrollment modules to help them complete first semester class enrollment prior to attending Summer Springboard.  “As we began planning for this summer's program, we thought it was important to align the enrollment process with the same process that students will experience in subsequent semesters when they enroll for classes,” said McCoy-Ntiamoah.  “Further, this reiterates the message that we expect students to take ownership of their academic decisions and make well-informed choices.”

Students attend the summer orientation based on the college of their major, a change from past years.   Several dates were available to students for each college, including students who are undeclared.  The daylong orientation teaches incoming students about the expectations of being members of the campus community and allows them to meet with their academic advisors to talk through their class schedules.  Parents attend a parallel program focused on academic success and their own transition to JMU.  “As the second phase of the orientation process, Summer Springboard is the time when students really solidify their identity as a JMU student,” said McCoy-Ntiamoah.  “They will attend a college meeting, meet the orientation staff, have their fall class schedule approved by their freshman advisor and get their JACard. They walk away as a full-fledged JMU student.”

During Summer Springboard students and families will be guided around campus by dedicated student-staff who make up the Orientation team.  A hallmark of the Orientation program, the student-staff that make up the Summer Springboard orientation team consists of:

  • ANTS - Assisting New Transfer Students support Transfer Summer Springboard. These students transferred to JMU, therefore they serve as a great resource to new transfer students.
  • OOAs – Orientation Operations Assistant that are responsible for managing the behind-the-scenes logistics of responding to emails, answering phone calls and creating orientation folders.
  • OPAs - Orientation Peer Advisers support First Year Summer Springboard, assisting students and families with the transition to Madison.  In addition to guiding students through Summer Springboard, the OPAs spend part of their summer planning training for the 300 FROGs – First yeaR Orientation Guides that will help with 1787 August orientation.

Students will complete the last step of their transition to JMU during 1787August Orientation.  This year students will move into on-campus housing August 20 and 21 and 1787 will begin late afternoon on August 21.   

For more information on JMU’s Orientation program visit the website:


June 25, 2013

Published: Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Last Updated: Thursday, October 20, 2016

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