The University of the South Pacific (USP) initiated the Semester Zero programme in January in an effort to acclimatise new students into university life. Provisional students were able to participate in tertiary learning from the safety and comfort of their own homes, while also gaining confidence and familiarity with university study.
The USP Centre for Flexible Learning (CFL), in collaboration with the Commonwealth of Learning Sponsorship (COL), devised the concept of this online orientation programme, Semester Zero, which will run until March 31, 2022.
Semester Zero is a one-of-a-kind initiative and a first-of-its-kind programme in the region for students to learn about the University and get a “feel” of university life. Semester Zero incorporates fun activities, games, and interactive quizzes previewing university studies, various campuses, services, and facilities.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, orientation programmes at USP used to be a whirlwind of activity on all campuses. Young, bright-eyed, eager students would flock to Orientation Week to learn everything they could about the courses and programmes available to them.
Owing to travel restrictions and COVID-19 safety measures, this year is a little different, as students may not travel to the Laucala Campus for their studies. Nonetheless, this obstacle should not prevent them from receiving the much-needed orientation, nurturing, and support.
Naitasiri Secondary School Principal, Josefa Jale said Semester Zero was a brilliant idea by the University.
He advised prospective students to enrol in Semester Zero because it would help them learn about USP especially when physical interactions are limited.
“It gives them an idea of the physical aspect of USP and the programme they want to pursue, as well as some encouragement before they join USP,” he said.
Sacred Heart College Head of School, Praveena Chand, said the students felt it provided them with a glimpse into university life, for which they are grateful.
“This also encourages them to do well in their exams and gain admission into USP. Students enjoyed the programme and are aware of what to expect when they arrive. The preparatory stage was thoroughly covered,” she added.
Nitesh Prasad, a Year 13 Careers Coordinator at Mauniweni College, mentioned that he found Semester Zero to be an excellent programme run by the University as rural areas did not have the privilege of university access.
“I was lost when I arrived from Labasa. Therefore, I feel that Semester Zero will benefit students to adjust quickly in Semester One,” he said.
“The students will enjoy it because it is online, and accessible from home, and they will have time to learn all of these things at their own pace giving them an idea of university life.”
Vice-Principal at Jeremiah College, Nilesh Ram, stated that Semester Zero was necessary in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic.
“I believe this is a good initiative, and this is one way to teach about the life of a tertiary student, which is a new dimension. I must say, it’s encouraging and dynamic,” Mr Ram emphasised.
Students from Fiji who have been offered provisional admission can log into the Moodle page URL provided in their provisional offer letters, enrol in the free programme, and take advantage of the remaining weeks as they wait for USP to formally begin. Students who have not yet submitted their provisional application may do so on www.usp.ac.fj/enrolme
Regional students are also eligible to enrol into the programme using their log-in details provided in their offer letter.
USP Enrolment Fair
The USP will be hosting its Enrolment Fair from 28 February to 12 March at the USP Student Car Park at the Laucala Campus.
The Fair will provide a space for students to come together and learn about the USP Community and the Laucala Campus, as well as seek academic advice and engage with USP academic and administrative staff.
At the Fair, representative from all schools and academic units will be on hand to answer students’ questions and assist with enrolment. Entertainment and campus tours are included in the two-week programme. New students are invited to attend the Enrolment Fair since it will be a unique opportunity to have all of their questions addressed and speak with staff who have first-hand knowledge on USP programmes before the start of Semester One on March 21.
Students can discover more about the many services available at the USP Enrolment Fair by visiting USP’s social media pages.
See you there!