Orientation Case Study

UNC Charlotte

Developing UNCC's first, fully virtual, University Transition Opportunities Program

Originally an on-campus program supported by digital technology, UTOP provides incoming first year students the opportunity to begin their college experience and start building peer & staff connections early, while earning seven credit hours over the summer.

However, due to the 2020 pandemic, the summer 2020 program was moved to an all-virtual experience for the first time in UTOP history.


Shawn Simmons

Assistant Director, Office of Academic Diversity and Inclusion
UTOP Program Director

“Introducing an app to our program in 2017 was one of the best moves we’ve made in recent years, but I was still looking for something that would allow us to be a lot more interactive with our program participants and a much more robust messaging system – Raftr was able to give us what we were looking for, plus more!”

The Approach

As the program’s director shifted to this new format, the university used Raftr as a primary delivery mechanism for the program, sharing valuable information, event schedules, and student checklists, while forging social connections through live chat, shared video sessions links, and more.

Rich Content

UTOP distributed key information and supported student success by leveraging Raftr’s rich content tools, such as guides, campus maps, and checklists.

Small Groups

Incoming students were connected through the platform to staff, faculty, peer leaders, and other students to help them start building a strong support network, from day 1.

Social Experiences

Students were assigned to small groups in Raftr, which allowed them to foster connections, coordinate virtual meetings, chat in real time, and share resources.

The Results


UTOP program users

(students, faculty, and staff)



Hours Communicating & Gathering Info



User Sessions



Group and Direct Messages


By combining powerful, direct tools for sharing important information with a robust communication platform, UNC Charlotte’s UTOP program has been able to create an active community for its first year students.

The single resource for communication, event planning, and student success materials provided a hub for the program that students could access any time for immediate, real-time support, leading to a more connected and more successful start to their academic and social experience at UNC Charlotte.

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