First Year Experience Program Eases Transition into College Life
September 10, 2012
Orientation Leaders Xavier Wade (left) and Hervens Jean-Baptiste (right) serve as role models and mentors for first year students.
Making the transition from high school to college is both exciting and terrifying. First year students face the challenges of finding friends, navigating campus, and leaving home, all while trying to gain a greater degree of independence. To help new Mustangs ease into Mount Ida College, the First Year Experience (FYE) Task Force, consisting of faculty and staff, has developed a campus-wide initiative called the First Year Experience Program to support first year, transfer and international students as they take responsibility and ownership of their futures.
First Year Philosophy
Although the First Year Experience is new to Mount Ida this year, the initiative began on Day One when incoming students received their acceptance letters. For the Class of 2016, the program follows students through Orientation, Fall Check-in, Convocation, Welcome Month, First Year Seminar (CC 101), and their return to classes during their second semester. The mission of the First Year Experience is to provide a comprehensive variety of programs that meet the intellectual, developmental, cultural, and social needs of new students.
“We are pleased to offer the First Year Experience Program and are excited to give students the skills, knowledge and resources to succeed in college and beyond,” said Gail Gabriel, Director of the First Year Experience Task Force and Adjunct Professor. “Through engaging first year students, we can better understand their needs and expectations to help them progress to graduation.”
Academic and Personal Success
In addition to intellectual programming, such as the First Year Seminar course, the FYE Task Force offers many events during the fall and spring semesters. Orientation Leaders, Resident Assistants, and Balfour Peer Leaders assist the FYE Task Force in forging connections with students to create a comfortable campus home. These campus leaders build connections by acting as guides to address student questions and concerns.
Along with the FYE Task Force and student mentors, an early-warning system automatically sends college officials notifications for at-risk students. As a result of having this tool to measure student success, our College improves retention rates and creates a stronger sense of community. As the Class of 2016 kicks off the FYE Program, the ultimate goal is for students to be excited about their first year because soon enough they will no longer be new, but returning Mustangs.