Fall Orientation: A Celebration!

The following blog is authored by Sean McBratnie, a senior English and Philosophy major from Philadelphia, PA.  Sean has served on the Orientation Staff for three years.


Fall Orientation is not simply a manner in which you get oriented with Furman. True, that will happen, but Fall Orientation is so much more. It is a celebration. Ever since January the Orientation staff at Furman has come together to prepare for your arrival. Ever since graduation in May, when we said farewell to our amazing seniors, there has been a gaping hole in the Furman community. A whole quarter of the student body has been missing for far too long, and you and your peers are here to fill it, which is something we are ecstatic about, thus the cause for celebration.

Celebration. It is the best approach to Fall Orientation. Try not to let yourself become overwhelmed with thoughts of the upcoming school year. Us, as Orientation Leaders, as well as your amazing Hall Staff will help you through that transition. For now, however, relax, have fun as you meet your new peers, roam the wonderful campus that is now your home, and soak up those last blissful days of summer surrounded by your new Furman Family.

If you are worried about meeting people or making friends, there are two things you should keep in mind. First, everyone has this worry and everyone is in the same boat as you. Second, Fall Orientation is jam packed with social events that you can attend, which allow you to put yourself out there and meet new people. The events encompass a wide spectrum of activities.  First and foremost, you will be meeting the residents that live on your floor, and from there you will have the opportunity to meet everyone who lives in your residence building. Better bond quickly, because each residence building will be competing against one another in the O-Lypmics.

Outside the realm of friendly competition, there is also the President’s Picnic where you’ll get to meet our new president Dr. Elizabeth Davis, as well as tour White Oaks the president’s home, which is filled with Furman’s history. There will also be a carnival, a comedy-juggler, a relaxing outdoor movie under the stars, as well as a shuttle bus, which will take you to Downtown Greenville, so you and your friends can explore the city that is now your new home. There are also a few other surprises, but you will have to wait to you get here until you find out about those.

Fall Orientation may sound like an exhausting whirlwind, especially for those on the introverted side, but as an O-Staffer, I say just go at your own pace. Make the most of this wonderful experience. Do not be afraid of feeling uncomfortable or out of place, this is natural. As a rising senior that is watching and feeling the excitement of the start of your college journey, I have some words of wisdom: no matter what happens just stop look around and take it all in, because before you know it some of these people who you are going through orientation with may become some of your closest friends, and soon y’all will be up on a stage receiving your diplomas. So, enjoy Fall Orientation. Enjoy the end of summer, and let your college journey begin.


For additional information about Fall Orientation, please refer to the Fall Orientation website, where you can find the full orientation schedule.  You are also encouraged to download the free “Guidebook” app for your smartphone, and search for the “Furman University Fall Orientation” guide – we will be keeping it updated with lots of additional information and resources for you throughout orientation.

Initial Fall Course Schedules Available!

Your initial fall course schedule is now available via the ARMS for Students link on the MyFurman portal. We constructed the course schedule based on the choices you submitted earlier this summer and the results of your placement tests.

In just a few short weeks when you arrive on campus, you will have an opportunity to meet your academic advisor before classes begin to discuss your interests and goals.   During Fall Orientation, we have specifically set aside time for you to meet individually with your advisor to review your fall course schedule.  With your advisor available to help guide your thinking, you will be able to adjust your fall course schedule if you see fit starting Monday, August 25.  The course adjustment period will conclude after the first seven class days at 5:00pm on Thursday, September 4.

For now, you may want to check out more about how advising works at Furman to get an idea of what to expect when you arrive.

Remember, you WILL be able to make any necessary changes to your schedule – including adding a class – when you meet with your advisor during Fall Orientation.

What I Wish I Had Known About College.

We are exactly one month away from new student move in day! Four weeks from TODAY you will be arriving at Furman, hopefully excited to begin a new chapter in your life. Today’s blog is authored by Erin Mellor, a soon-to-be sophomore who served on our Summer Orientation Staff.  Erin is from Irvine, California.  She reflects on some of her favorite experiences from her first year at Furman, and what she wishes she would have known as she started school.

My senior year of high school was like a dream. I had a core group of friends, loving and adventurous souls, and I didn’t see how it was humanly possible to feel more supported or rooted in a place outside of Irvine, California. Anxiety took ahold of my summer as I worried about my future roommate, feared I wouldn’t have friends, and doubted I’d be accepted in the South.

Fast-forward one year. As a rising sophomore, I have never felt more encouraged, courageous, and connected. You have the ability to make each day at Furman full and bright, especially if you are involved in a handful of organizations and actively pursue your interests.

My freshman year was full of midnight milkshake runs, movie nights, rich conversations, carnivals, swing dancing, coffee dates, strolling around Swan Lake, road trips, and eating pints of gelato (always chocolate peanut butter cup) with my roommate on our secondhand, worn and cozy couch.

There were some difficult nights, when the papers proved frustrating and the reading assignments never-ending. But there’s something about living and working with other people that bonds you at a deeper level than with your high school peers.

It’s a community, a family.

And even in the days of stress, I would gaze out across the lake, grab dinner with my hall mates, or go on a study break adventure, and know I had made the right decision to cross the country and go to Furman.

My advice to you, and what I wish I had known before entering college:

  1. It’s cool to rock your own style, have your own sense of humor, and be authentic.
  2. The initial security of rushing into a friend clique is fleeting. Try to stay open, meeting as many new people as possible. A supportive group of friends will naturally fall into place over the course of the semester. Extending kindness goes a long way.
  3. Hard work pays off. If you put time & effort into your schoolwork and friendships, you can succeed academically and create deep relationships. You may not get a perfect 4.0 like you did in high school, but usually these friendships and adventures prove more enriching. Balance is key.
  4. Be spontaneous. I love schedules and routine, yet my favorite memories are from spur-of-the-moment dinners, adventures, and trips downtown.
  5. Stay open to other peoples’ opinions and lifestyles. Besides preparing you for the workforce, college is meant to give you a wider worldview. By putting your judgment aside, you can gain valuable insight into the people around you and life in general.
  6. Enjoy this time and be present in the now. The days, weeks, and months truly fly by.


We can’t wait to see you on August 22!

Explore Your Faith at Furman!

Perhaps you are looking for a community to share your questions of faith, grow spiritually, and gather with others doing the same. We would invite you to explore your beliefs in our faith-based communities here at Furman.  Our religious organizations offer opportunities for friendship, a place to worship, and spiritual guidance. Complete our Religious Preference Form to get connected to one or more of these organizations.  To learn more about spiritual life at Furman, be sure to visit the Chaplaincy website.

Exploration of Vocational Ministry (EVM) is a four-year internship program offering students an opportunity to explore their interest in, call to, and fitness for professional ministry in a variety of fields. Together, students explore what it means to build a life that seeks to bring about peace and justice on this earth. EVM’s projects and activities provide many opportunities for engaged learning, fellowship with others considering ministry, internship opportunities, and a scholarship. Internships allow students to work with and make a difference through local social agencies, congregations, hospitals, and non-profit organizations. Meetings include speakers, activities, and small group discussions that are poignant and engaging. The scholarship offsets the time invested in internships and assists students as they explore their call to ministry. To learn more, visit the EVM website.



Paying for Furman: Help Us Help You!

Fall semester billing statements will be delivered via email by the end of July, and payment is due to the Student Business Center no later than August 13.  Once statements are prepared, you will also be able to view your bill online via MyFurman. Please refer to the Student Business Center website for more information about student financial matters and check out the payment options that are available to you and your family.  If you have questions, you can contact the Student Business Center at 864-294-2500.

Most students who will receive financial aid have been awarded for the 2014-2015 year. If you applied for financial aid, you should have received an award notification and taken action on the aid you will accept.  If the amount of aid you anticipated would be applied to your account does not match what is listed on your fall billing statement, the most likely causes include:


It is vital that you pay close attention to all communications you receive from Financial Aid, you don’t want to miss an important detail or deadline!  Questions about your aid? Contact Financial Aid via e-mail or at 864-294-2204.


Get ready for Summer Orientation!

We are only a few days away from the first Summer Orientation session and could not be more excited!  The Summer O-Staff arrived back at Furman on Monday and has been busily preparing for all of the orientation sessions.  Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@FU_Orientation) to learn more about the orientation staff, get some tips as you prepare for orientation, and see some of the O-Staff’s favorite Furman and Greenville hangouts!

I know many of you have questions about what to expect during Summer Orientation, and I hope to answer those questions for you right now!  You should receive an email about 10 days prior to your session that includes this same information, so keep an eye out for that.

Prior to attending orientation, there are a few items that you MUST COMPLETE:

  • Your language placement test – the password for this was included in with your network credentials.  Click here to complete the French, German, or Spanish tests; and here to complete the Latin test.  (Chinese and Japanese tests will be administered in the fall.)
  • Your First Year Seminar selections
  • The FOURtitude Project survey


You will be meeting with a Summer Advising Counselor during orientation, but if you would like to begin thinking about the courses you might want to take, feel free to look through Furman’s course catalog.  Remember, there is no need to have your schedule completely planned prior to attending orientation – your Orientation Staff leaders and Summer Advising Counselor will assist you with the course selection process.  It is also important to note that not all courses listed in the catalog are offered every semester, or even every year.

Also, just a friendly reminder that you will need your Furman network credentials (the username and password that allow you to log into MyFurman) during Orientation, so please make sure you know those.

When you arrive at Furman for your orientation session, there will be members of the Orientation Staff around campus to help guide you.  Check-in will take place in the South Housing Residential Area, in front of Geer Hall, from 8:00-9:00am.  If you would like print a campus map prior to your arrival, you can find one here.

We will provide bed linens and towels for your overnight stay, but you will need to bring toiletries.  There are community bathrooms in the residence halls, so keep that in mind as you pack.  Casual attire is appropriate for Summer O – we want you to be comfortable!  Sometimes the residence halls can be a bit chilly, so you might want to bring an extra blanket or sweatshirt.

Unfortunately, we can’t house everyone on campus during Summer O, so parents and family members accompanying you will need to make accommodations at a local hotel.  (For a list of hotels in the area, click here.)  Again, casual attire is encouraged.

If you have not already paid for Summer Orientation, please try to do so prior to arriving.  Only cash or check will be accepted as payment the day of.  You can complete payment by logging back into the registration system, or by calling 864-294-2076 and we can assist you.

Finally, we encourage you to download the “Guidebook” app for your smart phone, and search for the “Furman University Summer Orientation” guide.  This will be a great resource for you during Summer Orientation – it includes orientation schedules, a listing of campus resources, information about the orientation staff, a campus map, social media connections, and more.  The app is available for free in the App Store and the Google Play Store.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to let us know!  We look forward to seeing many of you on campus throughout the next two weeks!

Why “Summer O” is awesome!

The following blog was authored by Sam McCoy, a sophomore from Wichita, Kansas and majoring in chemistry.  This is Sam’s first summer on the Orientation Staff.


Last year, I was going to Summer Orientation as an incoming freshman. I was not quite sure what to expect, so I just went into the experience with an open mind. As soon check in began I started to meet new people, some of whom I still talk to regularly.

We went to the initial orientation presentation in McAlister Auditorium; I was split from my parents and put in a small group. My leaders took us to an area behind John’s Hall. Their series of icebreakers, while a little awkward… was so worth it! By the first meal, our small group members were all very comfortable with each other, joking around and talking very openly about what we wanted from our Furman Experience.

We spent the day picking classes, which would have gone so much worse had it not been for my awesome leaders, Alyson and Jonathan, being patient and knowledgeable. I learned which classes I shouldn’t take together and what classes I should avoid first semester, but I also learned about some pretty amazing classes to take that I might not have considered beforehand.

That night was the student social, the PalaParty! It was a mixer for the students, complete with food and games. I spent my time running around with my new friend, Matt, meeting other new students and doing our best to win some prizes (we were unsuccessful with the prizes).

By the end of Orientation, I felt confident in the classes I would be taking my first semester and I had new friends that I would be able to meet up with in the fall, so I didn’t have to worry about being alone. And I still see and hang out with people that were in my O-Group. One of them even ended up being my roommate…

This is Summer O: Great people & good times!

See ya there!

South Housing versus Lakeside Housing: Get a Student’s Perspective!

The following blog was co-authored by Coady Shovlain and Greyson Holle.  Coady is a senior from Tallahassee, Florida and majoring in Spanish.  He is returning to the Orientation Staff for his third year, serving this year as one of our Student Coordinators.  Greyson is a sophomore from Denver, Colorado and majoring in Business.  This is his first year on staff.


Thoughts on Lakeside Housing, from Coady

What an exciting time it is for y’all – time to start thinking about where you will live next year!  My buddy, Greyson, and I are hoping to shed some light on what your options are and what you’ll get out of both of them.

This is when going to college actually started to feel real for me. If I remember correctly I was pretty nervous about making the “right” decision, but let me start off by making something clear – there is no “right” decision. You are going to have just as good of an experience in McGlothlin as you are going to have in Judson (or any other residence hall). Hopefully that will take some of the anxiety out of the situation!

So let’s talk about Lakeside. I lived in Lakeside housing during my sophomore year and my experience was fantastic. It is hard to go wrong when you’re in Lakeside. The location is top-notch! It is super close to the library and Furman Hall (where a lot of language, communications, philosophy, etc. classes are). It is also great to visit friends who live in other buildings because the buildings are connected. Each hall has its own kitchen, outfitted with a refrigerator, freezer, oven, and stove. There is also a kitchen table that is great for doing homework… or for putting it off and socializing. The suite style bathrooms in Lakeside are nice as well – you get your own space and you can buy your own toilet paper (and get to choose how soft you want it to be!). You will only have to share with three other people, all of whom will be of the same gender.

When I reflect on the experience I had as a Lakeside resident as a whole, what really jumps out to me – why I loved living there – is the community those halls seem to create. It results directly from the tireless efforts of your hall staff and the quality of student one encounters on our campus. The halls were always filled with friendly faces. On any given night I would find friends having a potluck in the hall kitchen or a group of girls from my sister hall sitting and talking in the hallway. I would find the parlors on the bottom floor filled with my studying peers or I would see a group tanning on the field between the lake and the residence halls. The building is literally built to facilitate a good, social residential experience, something that I cannot wait for you to experience yourself!


Thoughts on South Housing, from Greyson

Now that you’ve heard about Lakeside Housing from Coady, I will tell you a little bit more about South Housing, or SoHo.  SoHo is the primary residential area for first-year students. Located next to Hipp Hall and Plyler Hall, it offers close proximity to classes in business, accounting, education, and the sciences.

The South Housing quad is composed of Poteat Hall, McGlothin Hall, Geer Hall, Manly Hall, and Blackwell Hall. Between the halls there is not much variation except for Blackwell, which I will come back to later. In Geer, Poteat, McGlothin, and Manly there are usually somewhere around 40 students per hall, each separated by gender. On each hall is a communal bathroom (which might sound bad, but this means you do not have to clean your own bathroom – YAY!) and a water fountain. Each room does have a sink, which means not having to walk anywhere to brush your teeth. These halls are great because you get to meet a big group of friends right from the beginning.

Blackwell has a slightly different layout. The halls are smaller, with less than 30 students on each hall, again split up by gender. On each hall there is a communal bathroom and a water fountain. In every room there are bunk beds, but no sink. I’d be lying if I told you the rooms weren’t smaller than the others in South Housing, but that was not a problem for me. I lived in Blackwell and fit all my belongings in easily.

There are two kitchens in SoHo, located in Poteat and Blackwell. There is a fridge, stove and oven in both.

My favorite part about being in South Housing is the proximity to all the other freshmen. With a great number of the freshmen class is living in such a small area, you always see friends. If, and when, you make friends in the other halls, you can easily go hang out in their rooms or them in yours. It makes it easy to meet up with friends to go to the DH (Dining Hall) or go to the PAC (Physical Activities Center). I thoroughly enjoyed my year in South Housing!


If you have questions or would like additional information about living on campus, check out the Housing & Residence Life website.  And don’t forget to complete your complete your Housing Assignment Request Form by the end of June.  BEST of luck during the housing lottery, and (as if you didn’t know it was coming) may the odds be ever in your favor!!

We look forward to meeting everyone at Summer Orientation – today is the deadline to register, so don’t wait!


Get ready to live on campus!

Now that you have confirmed that Furman is the place for you, we need to begin preparing for your arrival!  The first step is your campus housing assignment.   If you will commute to campus this fall, you can sit this one out; otherwise, please proceed!

Complete and submit your Housing Assignment Request.

Housing assignment requests must be submitted no later than June 30.  Specific residence hall requests will be considered through a lottery process, so it is NOT necessary to rush to submit your request.  If you re-submit your request, the most recent submission will be considered. Assignments will be available mid-July and students will receive instructions via email at that time regarding how to check their room assignment.

Learn together. Live together. Succeed together.

Engaged Living: The First-Year Experience provides you with an easy transition into your first year of college life by giving you immediate academic support and a sense of camaraderie. You will:

Select from one of five different academic programs all taught by Furman faculty and take a class or two with other students who live in your residence hall. Build close relationships with dedicated faculty and staff that are there to help you feel comfortable, encouraged, and supported, ensuring that you grow as a student and as a citizen of the world. Be a part of longstanding Furman traditions which ensure that your first-year experience will be rewarding and fun!

Make sure to submit your interest in Engaged Living by the priority deadline of June 20! Visit the Engaged Living website for more information.

 Know your way around social networking sites. 

Social networking has emerged as a wonderful way for our incoming students to meet each other before they ever arrive to campus in the fall.  Sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are utilized by a significant number of Furman students.  Please take the time to make sure your social networking profiles positively and accurately represent you, your family and your new Furman family.  Remember, the first impression your roommate may have of you is what he or she observes on a social networking site.

You may also want to check out the Housing & Residence Life web site for new students, highlighting some more important details for you.  And, as always, use the New Students website to guide you on all those things you need to be properly prepared for your arrival in the Fall!

First Year Seminars

If you haven’t already, you should soon be receiving your Furman network credentials in the mail.  They will come to you as part of a larger mailing, that includes several pieces of information – most for you, and a few things for your parents.  Once you have your network credentials, you will be able to log into MyFurman, set up your Furman email, and begin completing a number of items on the checklist.  For more information about Furman’s network, check out the Information Technology Services, or ITS, website.

One of the key things you will do to prep yourself for Summer Orientation is to select some first year seminars you are interested in exploring next year. Make that happen by navigating through our online tutorial and watching these video instructions.  Please select your seminars prior to arriving for your Summer O session, no later than June 13, as this will make it much easier for us to know what you are interested in when you sit down and talk to an advisor.

If you have questions or any problems as you are selecting your First Year Seminar preferences, please do not hesitate to let us know!