VCU Alliance Summer Program eases the transition process for new students
The VCU 2010 Summer Transition Program welcomed nineteen students from a variety of STEM majors for four intense but fun weeks.
Freshmen year is known to be one of the more disorienting experiences in college life. Universities are a completely different experience from high school, and high schools often do not adequately prepare students for it. Our summer transition program is meant to help stabilize that first year, so that it is not as stressful or disorienting.
For approximately one month of the summer, our students had classes and participated in both social and educational outings. The classes, mainly focused on math, chemistry and computing, strengthened the students’ foundation and prepared them for their upcoming semester classes.
Activities ranged from academic topics to just plain fun. They provided a break for the students, helped them learn more about their careers, and bond socially. The students built a close community and created lasting bonds. The combination of classes and activities helped the students have a smooth transition into their first year at the university.
To help ensure a smooth transition, VCU paired each transition student with an Alliance mentor, an upperclassmen who was matched with the freshmen based on their career interests. This encouraged the freshmen to feel more relaxed around their mentors, and helped them to establish a personal connection.
A training session was held for the mentoring program participants (both the protégés and
mentors), which also served as a meet-and-
greet session. One of the on-going benefits of pairing freshmen with mentors is the opportunity for new students to have someone to turn to when they encounter a problem.