The pre-arrival orientation is conducted within one week of the acceptance of a new student to the IEP. The primary aim of the pre-arrival orientation is to help incoming students prepare for their visa applications—in the case of initial-visa application—and life at Discovery Learning Center. For newly- admitted students, an acceptance package is provided via e-mail prior to their arrival. For initial students who need to obtain a U.S. visa, this welcome kit is provided at least two months before the students’ expected, course start-date so that the students can apply for a visa in a timely manner.
Along with a letter of acceptance, this e-mail welcome-kit includes detailed information about academic terms and holidays, course schedules, Form I-20 and F-1 visa interview processes, responsibilities that accompany the issuance of an F-1 visa, the placement-testing requirement, tuition payment, transportation options available to and from the school, etc.
Though this pre-arrival information is communicated in writing, a follow-up orientation may also be conducted over the phone or in person when further explanation is necessary. During this follow-up session, each student has a chance to ask questions for clarity.
In most cases, the initial orientation is conducted one week prior to the course start-date. This orientation is designed to assist new students in familiarizing themselves with the new learning environment and Discovery Learning Center’s school policies.
At this orientation, both the Campus Director and Academic Director welcome students and provide an overview of the school curriculum, level-advancement process, grievance process, and scheduling of classes. Each student is given a Student Handbook, academic calendar, and general, class schedule too at orientation. Additionally, students are introduced to the city of Fort Lee and the surrounding area.
The PDSO of Discovery Learning Center also leads an orientation session on F-1 regulations and answers any questions that students may have. Finally, students are asked to complete a placement test; and student advisors lead an orientation regarding placement-test results, the first week’s schedule, and textbooks.
All of the above is communicated orally as well as in writing so that there is no misunderstanding with regard to the expectations that both Discovery Learning Center and its students need to fulfill to ensure academic achievement and personal satisfaction.
Toward the end of each term, DLC conducts information sessions to provide orientation for students regarding academic breaks, final grades, and level advancement as well as to remind students of F-1 visa policies and regulations (i.e. international-travel endorsements, course-completion requests, transfer protocol, and registration for the ensuing, academic term). All of the above is done orally as well as in writing (handouts in person and a letter by e-mail).