Surviving Spring Invitational (SPIN)

This post is contributed by Natalie Burges, a chemical engineering major from Katy, Texas. She participated in Spring Invitational as an incoming student and will be serving as an orientation leader for the 2015 session. 

Thousands of high achieving students will flood to LSU for Spring Invitational (SPIN) in just a few weeks. We are so proud to host the top incoming students for this exceptional orientation opportunity. The College of Engineering consistently has the highest attendance at the annual event and the large mass of students can often be overwhelming. Luckily you are not alone, and despite the occasional herding, you will be treated as an individual preparing to take the next step in your education rather than a number in the crowd. Nevertheless, here are some helpful hints to help you survive.

1. Come in with an open mind.

LSU is a very diverse campus. You will meet people that come from different backgrounds and have different opinions and thoughts than you. Embrace them. Whether you are from a small town and a graduating class of 25 or a big city with a graduating class of 800, there will be people you can relate to and others you can learn from. Take in the experience and learn to accept people’s differences. LSU is a very welcoming community and it has a lot to offer so do not be afraid to break out of your bubble and walk in someone else’s shoes.

2. Get to know the people around you as well as your orientation leaders.

A large amount of the SPIN students will reside in the College of Engineering. With that being said, the engineering orientation groups can be rather large. Do not let this intimidate you. You don’t have to be best friends with 30 new people when you leave, but open up and talk to the people around you. Get to know them, where they’re from, and why they chose to come to the greatest university in the nation. Campus overwhelms several students but this is your chance to make a connection with your peers that you will see in class and you will see walking through the quad. Believe me, campus is much more welcoming and feels more like home when you see familiar faces. Also, your orientation leaders are great tools to have. They are thrilled to have you there no matter how tired you might be throughout the days of SPIN and they are there solely to help you so take advantage of it. Your orientation leaders can serve as great mentors not only through SPIN but also throughout your college experience.

3. Be ready to take in a lot of very important information.

Oh boy, get ready. Your mind will be filled with crucial information about becoming an LSU Tiger. The sessions may seem long sometimes but I promise that you will want to know this information. It is your responsibility to take care of yourself once you get to college and all the information that your orientation leaders present will be great tools to stay on top of everything and confidently handle your freshman year. You are welcomed to bring a pen and/or highlighter to note information that you might find helpful. When I came through SPIN as an incoming student, I was constantly engaged in the information sessions for two reasons. One, I was terrified of not knowing what to do once I was away from home and responsible for my life, education, and success. Two, because my mom needed to know absolutely everything or I would never hear the end of it. So even if it is to please your parents, pay attention to the information provided at SPIN.

4. Wear comfortable attire.

I made this mistake on the first day of SPIN as a participating student. I tried to look cute, you know, make a good first impression on my peers. Wrong. Dress comfortably because the days are long and can become exhausting. Wear good walking shoes and something you’re comfortable walking, standing, and sitting in. Be ready for anything with this Louisiana weather. Check the weather in the morning and pack appropriately. I would also recommend bringing a jacket in your bag because some buildings on campus can be chilly.

Natalie Burges

Natalie Burges

5. Enjoy every second of becoming an LSU Tiger!

Lastly, have fun! You are going to be an LSU Tiger! The most amazing times of your life are ahead of you and this is just the beginning. Take in the beautiful oaks as you walk across campus, listen to the bell tower ring, visit Mike the Tiger, and embrace the passion that circulates around LSU. You are officially at the greatest place on earth, a place that you will soon call home.

Welcome to Tiger Nation and Geaux Tigers!

 – By Natalie Burges
Chemical Engineering
SPIN Orientation Leader

Are you a family member attending SPIN? Don’t think we forget about you! Here are a few tips from a former Parent Orientation Leader:

1. Be prepared to learn.

My favorite part of SPIN is that it is a collaborative effort across campus. Students and administrators from every department on campus will be there to welcome you to our tiger family. Be prepared to learn a lot of information about the resources that LSU has to make your student successful not only academically, but also professionally.

2. Be prepared to ask questions.

With all of the information that you will be receiving, comes plenty of questions. SPIN is a phenomenal time for you to ask any questions that you may already have, or think of during the program. One of the best resources for you will be your Parent/ Family Orientation Leader. These student leaders have been training for months to make sure that they are well equipped to answer your questions. I highly encourage you to not only ask them about the resources at LSU, but also what their experience is like as an LSU student. I guarantee you they will be more than happy to share their love and passion for LSU.

3. Be prepared to see what it means to be an LSU Tiger.

One of the unique things about SPIN is that this is a normal class week and work week for our students. Spring Invitational is our largest orientation program and it takes place during the school year. As a parent, you have the opportunity to see our campus and students in their natural environment. Our students are not only welcoming you to LSU, but they are going to class and participating in extra-curricular activities just as they would any other week.

4. Be prepared to watch your student transition to a young adult.

This is probably one of the most challenging parts of SPIN for parents. Just as you are learning a lot of information at SPIN, so is your student and it is now your student’s responsibility to implement what he/she is learning. As a parent/family member, it is important to remember this. As your student transitions to the University, it is crucial that you remain supportive of their independence and continue to provide them with the resources that they need to succeed. Visit LSU Parent & Family Programs for more information about the Family Association, Family Weekend, and other Family programs to help you become the best resource for your student.

– By Andrew Hall
Recruiting Associate
LSU College of Engineering

Summer Camps for High School Students

XCITE lab group

XCITE lab group

Dozens of high-achieving high school students converge on LSU’s campus each summer to learn about the various disciplines available at the College of Engineering. The Recruiting into Engineering High Ability Multicultural Students (REHAMS) and Xploration Camp Inspiring Tomorrow’s Engineers (XCITE) LSU Residential Summer Camps introduce students to construction management, computer science, and engineering through workshops designed to teach through hands-on, problem-solving exercises. The camps staff partners with LSU faculty and industry professionals to create novel programming that connects what are often abstract scientific and mathematical concepts to students’ everyday experiences.

This year, the College’s Assistant Manager for Recruiting, Terrica Jamison, begins her tenure as the administrator of the camps. She is bursting with ideas to enhance campers’ weeklong stay on campus, and she eagerly shared them with The Engineered Tiger.

What are you most excited about as you prepare for 2015 REHAMS and XCITE?

I meet with thousands of students across Louisiana and beyond in my role as the College’s assistant manager for recruiting, and I often encounter talented high schoolers who either don’t know much about engineering or don’t think they would fit in at the College. REHAMS and XCITE give me additional avenues to introduce students from all walks of life to engineering and show them at it is a viable option for them.

Students at the PERTT Lab

Students at the PERTT Lab

What will be different about REHAMS and XCITE this year?

My staff and I are focused on building lasting connections between engineering and the students’ everyday lives. The challenge my staff, and both our LSU and industry partners face, then, is to show the students that they already engage in the type of problem solving that successful engineers, construction managers, and computer scientists use in the professional world. That’s a tall order in just one week! My approach this year is to teach by doing, so participants should expect innovative programming that presents them with real world problems they can solve to improve the lives of others. Students might be building a robot one day and creating an app the next. I haven’t finalized the schedule yet, but nothing is off the table.

I have also prioritized student-to-student interaction. It can be difficult (and a bit intimidating!) for students to situate themselves within the engineering discipline exclusively through their interactions with tenured faculty and established professionals. I want the students to visualize themselves here as successful LSU engineers, so I’m working with faculty to incorporate some of their top graduate students into the camp curricula. Additionally, I am also asking our industry partners to make junior members of their staff who are LSU alumni available to meet with the campers whenever possible. Our students and graduates are what make the LSU College of Engineering such a powerful force, and we want to capitalize on those resources by showing the campers the elite corps of aspiring and working engineers they can join if they work hard.

In the past, REHAMS and XCITE included general sessions about college life. Will you continue that tradition?

Absolutely! For some of our students those sessions are their first exposure to college prep, and helping to bring college within reach for all of our campers is one of my top priorities. Both REHAMS and XCITE will include a visit to LSU’s new Olinde Career Center, where they will learn about proper interview dress and techniques. They will also attend sessions with Enrollment Management and Student Aid & Scholarships, where LSU staff will go through the college, scholarship, and financial aid application processes in detail.

Speaking of application process, have the REHAMS or XCITE applications changed?

The selection process will be more competitive moving forward, so yes, I have made a few changes. The selection committees will place greater weight on the students’ motivations for attending the camps, so we increased the space allotted to student essays. We will evaluate the essays for both purpose and clarity and give preference to those who can best articulate how they will use what they learn at the camps to forge a pathway to a career in engineering, construction management, or computer science.

We are also asking parents and students to return all application materials, including transcripts, letters of recommendation, and the non-refundable $25 application fee, together in one packet. Applications are available on the Summer Camps page on the College’s website, and all materials are due by close of business on April 24th.

REHAMS lab group

REHAMS group and their student leader

Do you have any final thoughts for aspiring engineers who want to attend REHAMS or XCITE?

The College established REHAMS and XCITE to provide students from diverse communities an opportunity to create and experiment in a collaborative yet competitive environment that exposes them to life as a college student. I have one piece of advice for students out there reading this who are excited about the prospect of participating in one of the camps but unsure of whether or not they have what it takes to be engineers: Apply! You have potential; let us show you how far it can take you if you’re willing to work hard and invest in your own success.

REHAMS LSU Residential Engineering Camp

Dates: June 14-20, 2015
Location: LSU Campus
Application deadline: April 24, 2015
The cost of the camp is $400, inclusive of room and board, and there is a non-refundable $25 application fee.

XCITE LSU Residential Engineering Camp

Dates: July 12-18, 2015
Location: LSU Campus
Application deadline: April 24, 2015
The cost of the camp is $400, inclusive of room and board, and there is a non-refundable $25 application fee.

A limited number of need-based scholarships are available to qualified students. Check the REHAMS 2015 Application and XCITE 2015 Application on the Summer Camps website ( for eligibility requirements and guidelines.


Traveling through the World of Admissions: A Guide for High School Seniors

My name is Andrew Hall and I am the Recruiting Associate for the College of Engineering at LSU. In this role, I get to interact with prospective students as they make decisions about college. My favorite part of my job is traveling to high schools and college fairs across the country to speak with prospective students. Much like planning a trip requires a lot of preparation, so does preparing for the college admissions process! Below are some practical ways that I plan for travel, which can also help you plan your next steps in the admissions process.

1. Plan your destination: Before I take any trip, I have to decide a location and conduct extensive research on the area.  As a senior, this is the first step in your college admissions process. One of the best places to start is the University’s admission site. Typically these sites have landing pages to other Departments, like the College of Engineering. Once you have done your research and visited campus, you may want to consider applying. Applying early is highly encouraged, but if you have not submitted your application, no worries. The deadline to apply for the Fall 2015 semester without incurring a late fee is April 15, 2015. You can access the LSU Application for Admissions here.

LSU Quad: Photo courtesy of LSU

LSU Quad: Photo courtesy of LSU

2. Plan where you are going to stay: Now that you have in mind where you want to go, you need to figure out where you want to stay. Although it is not required for students to live on campus, it is highly recommended. Residential life provides several on-campus living options, including a residential college program. The ERC (Engineering Residential College) provides a unique living and learning environment for our first year engineering students. Students who choose to live in a residential college take classes in their Hall and are also exposed to events that are put on by industry professionals. The residential college is also a fantastic way to meet other students in your program.

The LSU "ERC" or North Hall

The LSU “ERC” or North Hall

Additionally, residential life also offers traditional residential halls, which are not major specific. The traditional halls offer a diverse range of living accommodations and no matter which hall select, you will have the opportunity to live near some amazing campus resources. If you are interested in living on campus, I highly encourage you to complete a housing application as soon as possible.

3. Secure your spot: Just like any other trip, you need to secure your spot at LSU! A $250 enrollment deposit, which indicates an intent to enroll at LSU, is required by all entering freshman and is due by May 1, 2015. The enrollment deposit is not an additional expense, but rather a pre-payment that is deducted from your fall tuition costs. To pay your enrollment deposit, log in to myLSU. Select Student Services from the menu list, then Application Status.

4. Acquire the necessary documents: When you travel, you always need to make sure that you have the necessary documentation ready. Whether it is a passport, proper tax documents, or even flight itineraries, you always want to be prepared for your trip. As an incoming student there are several important items that you must complete before you can enroll at LSU.

  • If you would like to apply for need-based financial aid, you will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. You may apply for FAFSA after January 1,2015 and it is recommended to do so as soon as possible. LSU’s code is 002010 for FAFSA. For more information regarding FAFSA, visit our Financial Aid website.
  • Another important thing to do is register for new student orientation. Orientation is a wonderful way to get acclimated with the University and it is required for all incoming students. We also offer orientation sessions for parents and family members of our new Tigers! The deadline to register for orientation is May 1, 2015.

    LSU Ambassadors - Engineering Orientation Leaders

    LSU Ambassadors – Engineering Orientation Leaders

  • Lastly, be sure that LSU has received all of your documents! To do so, you will need to submit final transcripts from all schools attended. A list of transcripts needed and received can be found in “Documents Received” on your myLSU account. Select Student Services, then Application Status in the main menu.

5. Enjoy the travel and planning process: College will go by very fast, and so will your senior year. Although it can seem stressful at times, remember to enjoy the time leading up to your trip. Enjoy the last few months of high school, because before you know it your big trip will be here!

I hope this outline helps you navigate through the admissions process, and if you ever need any assistance please do not hesitate to contact anyone in our office!

Terrica Jamison
Assistant Recruiting Manager

Andrew Hall
Recruiting Associate

Engineering Student Ambassadors

Building Community at the LSU Engineering Residential College

Transitioning to college can be much easier when you live in a residential college.

A residential college is a place where freshmen of the same discipline live, study and work together under the same roof. The LSU College of Engineering Residential College (ERC), or North Hall, houses 350 students studying computer science, construction management, or engineering.

The LSU "ERC" or North Hall

The LSU “ERC” or North Hall

“The benefits of living in a residential college are countless. Students who choose to live within a residential college community have access to resources and events that other students simply aren’t privy to,” said Derek Calderara, residential life coordinator for the North Community.

Living in a residential college comes with many perks. Numerous classes, supplemental instruction sessions and professor office hours take place in the same building where students live.

ERC "Monday Mashup" Night

ERC “Monday Mashup” Night

On top of academic help, ERC students also build a sense of community by making friends outside of class.

“Community is the sound of friends kicking around a soccer ball in the courtyard. It’s the silence of a study room being shared between a dozen students, and it’s the vision of faculty, staff and students all sharing space in the dining halls on campus,” Calderara explained. “We are all part of the same LSU community.”

According to ERC Rector Mark Rabalais, students who live in the ERC are more likely to graduate on time compared to their peers who live elsewhere. Rabalais said that the combination of the ERC’s community and academic perks is what contributes to students’ higher graduation rates.

“I think a sense of community just adds to the sense of belonging somewhere and increases your chances of succeeding,” he said.

Students form relationships and friendships with their classmates in the ERC for different reasons.

“Students often come together naturally whether it’s due to common interests in the same video games or sports, or simply due to coursework. Students have bonded regularly in developing study scheduling that match up with the challenging schedule they face,” Calderara said. “Most of all I notice the overall optimism and enthusiasm that radiates from almost all of our students in the ERC. Everyone seems genuinely happy to be a part of the community here.”

– Contributed by Danielle Kelley,
College of Engineering communications intern

Gearing up for Move-In Day!

Updated 5/24/2017

This month’s post will serve as a go-to guide for getting ready for the fall semester! We’ll cover some basic topics like what to pack, tips for settling in, and some information about the Engineering Residential College for those of you who haven’t heard about it yet.


This can be an overwhelming process so don’t wait until the last minute! Start a list of the things you absolutely need to take with you and work your way up from there.

Resist the urge to bring everything you own with you! You probably won’t have the space in your dorm or apartment, let alone your car. Also, coordinate with your roommates ahead of time to see what they plan on bringing. There’s no need for you both to have a fridge, microwave, coffee-maker, etc.

If you’re coming from out-of-state, wait to buy your organizational items until you get here. For example, trying to haul down storage bins of all shapes and sizes, clothing hangers, etc. is just too much trouble. There are plenty of places around town for you to pick these things up – Walmart, Target, and Bed, Bath, and Beyond to name a few.

It's not the heat, it's the humidity.

It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.

What about packing for the weather? The best way to describe Louisiana weather: unpredictable. That being said you can generally expect it to be hot and humid your first couple of months here. Two must-haves – rain boots and a raincoat. When it rains, it pours!

If you’re from a cold-weather state, the weather is going to take some getting used to (imagine walking around in a sauna all day). The good news is that when it starts cooling off in the fall, the locals will be bundled up in the 60 degree weather and you’ll still be wearing shorts! So it all evens out.

You don’t need to bring all your fall and winter clothes with you initially, especially if you know you’ll be going home for Fall or Thanksgiving break. You can take the time to swap out clothes during the breaks once you’ve had a chance to see what the weather is like. Just bring a raincoat, and a few layer-able items like a sweatshirt and jacket for that unpredictable weather.

Click here for a more comprehensive list on what items to pack.

LSU also offers some cool things, like “MicroFridge Rentals” and a “Ship to Your Room” program. Check those out here.

Dorm/Residential College Life

If you’ve never had to share a room with a sibling before, the thought of sharing a space with a stranger can be downright terrifying. The good news is that you’re not alone and most likely your new roommate is equally concerned about the new living situation. Here are some ways to help ease your fears.

There's no need to freak out!

There’s no need to freak out!

Get to know your roommate ahead of time. Find them on Facebook, send them an email, do whatever makes you most comfortable and reach out to them. You don’t need to interview them and find out everything there is to know about their life and living habits, but just having a few conversations with this person will make them feel more like a friend and less like a stranger when you move in.

Get to know your other suite-mates or dorm-mates when you move in. If you’re not a very outgoing person, this can seem difficult. But start out by simply saying hello to people in the hallway and start up conversations when you can. Not only will you make some lasting friendships with many of these people, it’s also important from a safety standpoint for the people around you to know who you are. They are going to be your family for the next year – you want them to look out for you just as you should for them.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but be considerate and respectful of your roommate. Most likely, you’re not going to have the same sleep schedule, class schedule, and social schedule. Work out things like who showers when, and what’s a reasonable time for “lights out,” before they become an issue. Don’t be conflict avoidant – this will only make you more frustrated and angry as the problems persist. Be open and honest and make sure that your roommate knows that they can tell you if something is bothering them too. You don’t have to be best friends with this person, but you want this to be a pleasant experience for both of you.

This is one considerate roommate!

This is one considerate roommate!

LSU’s Residential Life has a “Living on Campus Handbook” with safety information, policies and procedures, services, and more. Be sure to read it and stay informed.

For all details associated with Move-In Day please head here. This website provides information on where to check in, directions, and more.

Engineering Residential College (ERC)

A residential college is a living-learning community, generally grouped together by academic interests or majors. LSU’s Engineering Residential College (ERC) is housed in the North Hall and opened in Fall 2012. More than 350 first-year students with a declared major in the College of Engineering enjoy this living-learning community on the west side of campus.

Interior of ERC

Living in the ERC is a great way to meet more people within the college, receive additional instruction in math, physics, and chemistry, and connect with industry partners through corporate sponsored events aimed at exposing students to internship and career development opportunities.

If you’re a prospective student who may be interested in living in the ERC, be sure to check out this website which includes all the benefits of living there as well as the eligibility requirements.

— Contributed by Laura J. Odenwald, LSU alumna and current College of Engineering assistant manager of digital marketing