Leaving home for the first time and heading to university can be a daunting experience for any freshman.

To ease that transition, some 3,600 incoming freshmen — and nearly as many parents — are visiting the University of Oregon campus this summer to attend the two-day orientation program known as IntroDUCKtion.

"I think it will definitely be an easier transition into school knowing all the stuff," said freshman Shelby Meyers of Encinitas, Calif. "It's a big change so making it a little less abrupt will definitely be helpful."

"Just coming here fresh would be very intimidating," said her mother, Lori Meyers.

The university offers eight IntroDUCKtion sessions, each with about 450 students, said Cora Bennett, director of student orientation programs at the UO. In addition, a one-day IntroDUCKtion is offered for transfer students, and a session is held each year in Hawaii for the 55 to 70 students from the island state who attend the UO. More than 90 percent of the approximately 3,850 incoming freshman are expected to go through the program.

IntroDUCKtion offers students a chance to make friends, get to know campus, and perhaps most important, register for fall classes, Bennett said.

That way, when they arrive in the fall, "all they have to worry about is buying books and making friends," she said. "It makes students feel like they're part of the university."

While students are meeting with academic advisers and faculty members, parents attend sessions such as "Holding On and Letting Go," "Money Matters," and "For the Health of It."

"Parents are a huge part of IntroDUCKtion," Bennett said. "Parents want to know the university as well. They want to know... this is the right choice. We of course want them to leave feeling with that sense of calm and ease, that their student is going to be successful here."