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Theoretical and Institutional Knowledge

Orientation and transition are fundamental experiences for college student success leading to the ultimate outcome of retention and persistence to graduation. OTR practitioners must have theoretical knowledge of student learning and development combined with a working knowledge of the institutional functions.


  • Articulate student development, transitional, student learning and environmental theories
  • Describe the purpose and function of orientation, transition, and retention
  • Identify the theoretical causes of student departure
  • Specify the different constituents served by OTR programs
  • Identify contemporary student and parent/family demographics and relationships within individual institutional context (i.e. recruiting and enrolling)
  • Interpret the institutional mission and culture and their effect on orientation, transition, and retention programming
  • Determine campus history, tradition, and politics that could contribute to the successes and challenges of the work completed by the OTR office
  • Possess a technical comprehension of student course registration system and process
  • Outline the institutional structure of the academic advising process and academic support structures which connect to student academic success
  • Access student data to inform decisions and practices of OTR programs
  • Identify and adhere to the NODA Statement of Ethical Standards
  • Explore institutional and higher educational trends to better predict, influence and adjust to changing OTR practices
  • Identify the current research which surrounds OTR practices
  • Employ theory to practice concepts in program and staff development
  • Identify theory which may be institution-specific to support campus populations and climate
  • Establish one’s own philosophy of student engagement and retention
  • Compare practices based on use of a variety of student development theories
  • Implement practices incorporating how individuals process and understand information, specifically visually, auditorily and kinesthetically
  • Describe the institutional use and structure of student data management
  • Use theory juxtaposed with institutional data to project student yield, retention and attrition behaviors
  • Pursue knowledge creation, synthesis, and application in orientation, transition, and retention
  • Employ a technical understanding of student data management to guide data driven decisions
  • Comprehend one’s institutional recruitment and enrollment life-cycle
  • Advocate for OTR programs as a partner in student academic success through the support of academic and career planning advising


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Resource Materials

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