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Best and the brightest begin orientation at Ohio State

Students get iPads, campus experience before autumn semester

Thousands of new first-year students are getting sound advice right from the top as they begin their journey at The Ohio State University.

The start of summer orientation is underway at the Columbus campus, and President Michael V. Drake offered a welcome and some words of encouragement to students.

“The first thing is to start to be ready to start,” Drake said. “Be ready at the very beginning to get going. You have wonderful classmates who are very talented, very focused and hardworking. They are going to be ready to start. And you want to be ready to start, too.”

Students and their families filled the Thurber Theatre at the Drake Performance Center to start a two-day immersion into the culture of Ohio State. Once again, this class is expected to be the most talented and diverse in university history. Ohio State has seen a record number of applications the last three years with climbing test scores and record minority enrollment.

First Year Experience Director Catherine Montalto pointed out that students in this new class come from across the country and the world. She said new students’ hometowns range from those with populations in the millions to communities where the citizens number in the dozens.

“You are unique individuals that bring to Ohio State talents and characteristics and interests and experiences that we really value,” she said.

New to students this year is the one phase of the university’s Digital Flagship initiative . Every first-year student on the Columbus and regional campuses receives an iPad Pro, Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil supplied in a protective case at the start of orientation.

Students also take academic placement tests, meet advisers and peer leaders and have a chance to enjoy lunch at the Ohio Union.

Fernando Esquivel, a Pittsburgh native, came to Ohio State because of the reputation of the College of Engineering. He plans to study mechanical engineering and said the first day of orientation was busy but useful.

“It’s been a smooth transition but it’s been exciting and nerve-racking,” he said. “I love the campus, where it’s at in a big city with a big opportunity.”

Drake also reminded students that their college experience would require dedication and hard work. But there would be help along the way.

“It’s meant to be challenging. You can do it but you have to put some effort into it,” he said. “From time to time, the challenges will be difficult and there will be other people who can help make it easier for you. And it’s very smart to use those services: friends, advisers in the dorm, people who you meet at first year experience, people in student life or counseling services.

“We have hundreds of people on campus whose full-time job is to make your life work better.”