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Welcome to Orientation: Things You Should Know as a New Part of the SUNY Family

Students outside on bleachers laughing. Girl wearing SUNY tshirt.

It’s that time of year again. Many of you have already attended your campus orientations, but now it’s time for another important positioning piece. As a student at SUNY you aren’t just part of your campus, you’re part of the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the world, and that comes with some benefits! In addition to the benefits of each of our 64 campuses, SUNY students get many benefits from the system that go beyond the individual campuses. So in order for you to get a better understanding of just what it means to be a part of SUNY, we’ve created this brief online introduction. Here at SUNY you really can be a part of something bigger.

If it’s your first-year on a SUNY campus, now is your time. Whether you are traditional residential, commuter, full-time, part-time or totally online, you benefit from the brand-recognition and trusted name associated with the State University of New York. So here are just a few of the benefits and important pieces of info you should be familiar with at SUNY:


SUNY’s top official is Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. Chancellor since 2009, Zimpher is the first woman to be named chancellor in SUNY’s 60-year history and the 12th overall! During her first year, Chancellor Zimpher introduced us to The Power of SUNY, the strategic plan for the university that formed initiatives around research and innovation, energy, health care, global affairs, and the education pipeline, among others. It’s under her leadership that SUNY works to benefit you.

Applied Learning

SUNY believes in the power of learning by doing. This is why providing each and every student, whether on campus or online, an applied learning opportunity that takes advantage of the relationship between knowledge and experience is essential. SUNY is working to ensure all students have this opportunity. A cooperative education and internship experience engages students in a structured program that blends classroom studies with experiential learning in a field directly related to the student’s academic and career goals. The track record for cooperative education in universities across the United States shows that students participating in co-ops are more likely than non-co-op students to:

  • Achieve a higher grade point average (GPA) while attending school,
  • Graduate with less debt,
  • Receive job offers from their co-op employer, and
  • Earn more money in their chosen career.


Open SUNY is one of the nation’s largest distance learning programs. It provides educational opportunities for an estimated 86,000 students through 12,000 courses. Through these online courses SUNY is making it easier than ever to access a quality higher education experience at an affordable cost. Open SUNY is not a new degree program or a new school; it’s a seamless way for you to access the courses, degrees, professors, and rich academics of all 64 SUNY campuses flexibly—wherever and whenever you want. And Open SUNY offers many benefits including:

  • Flexibility: Learn on your own schedule from wherever. No need to change your work schedule or change jobs to make time for school; you can learn when your schedule allows.
  • Support: You’ll have access to a real human being who knows you and is there for you.
  • Experience: The hands-on practical experience you need to be successful in the workplace is built into your Open SUNY experience.
  • Simplicity: Open SUNY brings together online program and course offerings so that they are easy to find. It’s never been simpler to see all SUNY has to offer.
  • Excellence: Faculty are the engine of SUNY, and Open SUNY provides them with the tools and supports they need to provide high-quality courses in an online environment.
  • Access: Open SUNY Affordable Learning Solutions provides faculty with an easy way to locate and utilize free and open educational materials to provide students with high-quality free or low-cost textbooks and other learning resources.

Transferring Within SUNY

If you are already part of the SUNY system, transferring between campuses is easier than ever! SUNY has great transfer policies in place to make your transition as simple and painless as possible. And you are in good company; more than 45% of our baccalaureate graduates begin as transfer students. If you’re thinking of transferring to a different SUNY campus, the transfer office is only a call or click away. And it’s not just easy to transfer from a community college to a four year school. SUNY has also introduced reverse transfer.

Reverse transfer is for students who have already transferred to a SUNY four-year institution without having earned an associate degree at a SUNY community college. Reverse transfer allows students to transfer the credits they have earned at the SUNY four-year institution back to the SUNY community college, which can then review the courses that have been taken at the four-year institution and determine if the combination of credits earned at the community college and credits earned at the four-year institution meet the requirements for an associate degree.

Alumni Network

There are 3 million SUNY graduates spread throughout the world. They come from all walks of life: actors, lawyers, business people, teachers, and comedians. In addition to your campus Alumni organization, once you join this esteemed crowd you will not only be armed with the degrees and skills to be successful but you will also have SUNY Perks to help you get started. SUNY Perks is an online discount savings program with offers from a wide variety of nationally recognized merchants. In addition to the discounts on purchases, each purchase earns “WOW Points”, which can be used towards future purchases. Membership is free to SUNY alumni.

And there’s many more things at SUNY


Written by Kay Broughton

Kay is a student assistant with the SUNY Office of New Media. She is a University at Albany undergraduate working towards a double major in English and East Asian studies with a double minor in communications and film.

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SUNY - Be Part of Something Bigger