10 Ice Breaker Ideas For New Student Orientation

For most students, college orientation is one of their first tastes of life outside of the protective high school bubble. The pressure is on!

Not only do students feel a little lost in a sea of faces, but they’re also trying to look like they’re ready to conquer the world. After all, image is vital to survival.

As part of the student success team, you can help relieve the pressure. Bring a fun, relaxed vibe to your next new student orientation. Here is how you do it with ice breakers:

Reception Line Relay

In the spirit of “speed dating,” divide students into two groups facing each other. Each student talks to the student across from them until you blow the whistle.

At the end of each round, the student on the end of one line moves to the opposite end. This ensures students talk to someone new. 

Going to the Beach

Set up a social distancing-friendly circle. The first student says, “My name is _. I’m going to the beach, and I’m bringing (Insert an object that begins with the first letter of their name). The following student says their name, what they will bring, and what the first student is bringing.

Go around the circle until the last student recites the entire list.

Ask Me Anything

This icebreaker works for in-person and virtual new student orientation. Make the questions funny without being embarrassing.

For example: What animal are you? What is the longest word you know? You can draw from your own funny questions or use some of these from Fun Attic.

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

Ask fun questions that go beyond the usual prompts about their college major. For example: How would you describe yourself in 3 words or images? Share a photo or image.

If the orientation is in-person, students can share images they have on their mobile devices.

I Spy

This icebreaker works best for virtual get-togethers. Each student chooses an object from their room. Other students guess what the thing is by asking questions with only yes or no answers.

When I Grow Up

Ask students to share their childhood dream. Have them relate it to their chosen major and career aspirations. If you’re virtual, they can post their answers on a virtual whiteboard.

Dance Party

Tell students to get up and dance every time they hear music. It works just as well for virtual new student orientation as it does for an in-person event.

What’s Your Mood?

Ask students to share how they’re feeling today using emojis. Remote participants can post their emoji in the chat. In-person attendees can draw theirs on paper.

What’s In Your Wallet?

Ask students to take three items out of their purse or backpack. Have them share a few sentences about each item.

Fun with Food

Each student shares a dish they would like to serve the group. Include how they learned to make it, why they chose it, and what powerful memory the dish brings to mind.

Ice breakers help new students get to know each other and feel more comfortable in their new community. Include this list in the orientation guide you put together for staff in charge of orientation events to have something handy if they need ideas for an impromptu ice breaker.