Tuesday, October 8, 2019

First Year Experience Can Help You Succeed

If you’ve ever felt lost in the haze of college- meaning you’ve felt generally clueless or helpless when getting through school-, you’re not alone!  Too many students don’t know vital information about being successful in college or their career, but Volunteer State Community College’s First Year Experience can help.

The First Year Experience is a student success initiative that has three programs to implement a better college experience for new freshmen:

1.) Connect.
This aims to create a stronger sense of community at Vol State with a new student orientation.  It will be a smaller event, but it will be more frequent during the summer to increase student attendance.  To test this new orientation, Vol State will offer orientation for spring students, starting later this year.

2.) Engage.
This will focus on students’ well-being with new student convocation.  Starting a week before classes, this is a big event that familiarizes students with different divisions of the school.  During this week, students can meet faculty in those programs and see where their classes are.

“You would be there with the students that you’re probably going to be taking a majority of your classes with,” said Quality Enhancement Plan Director Jessica Lewis, “There will be giveaways, there will be a students’ panel where current students can talk to new students about what to expect and what their own experiences are.  Then we’ll have breakout sessions, which will cover ‘just-in-time’ information.”

Quality Enhancement Director Jessica Lewis
3.) Succeed.
This is the last and longest program of FYE, as it will use student success courses for students to gain more information and exploration in their area of interest before they commit the rest of their academic career- let alone life- to it.  They will also cover necessary skills for success in the real world, like time management, communication and accountability.  These courses will be piloted this spring for some electives, but they will become a requirement for all first-time students next year.
“First Year Experience One, or FYEX 1030, is the first course that students will take in the fall, and that course will focus more on student success,” said Lewis, “The second course, First Year Experience Two or FYEX 1040 is focused more on the career aspect, so that will be much more about resumes, interview skills and things like that.”

While some parts of FYE have already been piloted, it should not affect current students and will begin next school year.

“Our biggest goal is that we want every student to be successful, and we want every student to understand that that’s why we are here.  We’re here to help you be successful,” said Lewis, “If we can help ten or twenty more students across that graduation stage, then it’s worth it.”

-Gloria Cortes

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