Langley, British Columbia—The first day at any new school can be nerve-wracking. But for more than 800 new undergraduate students who will step onto Trinity Western University’s campus this fall, the first day and even first week will be something to look forward to.
Seasoned student leaders will give these new students a warm welcome, ease them into campus life and help set up the newcomers for a successful first year. On August 31, 240 student leaders will pull on Hawaiian shirts to identify themselves as helpers as they serve first-year students for orientation week.
“To really take advantage of all that’s offered at Trinity Western, you have to get involved with the community,” says Andrew Clogg, a 3rd year communications student who led a group of men in his dorm as a resident assistant (RA) this past year and who will welcome new students to campus again this fall.
“Getting involved connects you with others who are passionate about the same things you are, and it really helps you to grow in all areas of your life,” he adds.
During orientation week, student leaders, like Clogg, will help with everything from hauling new students’ belongings into dorms to introducing students to staff and faculty and showing the students around campus.
“Orientation and the first four to six weeks of school is a critical time for students,” says Cathy Chapplow, TWU’s director of the first year experience. “Many will decide whether to graduate from university during this time frame.”
And orientation begins long before students even get to campus. Months before they arrive, new students have the opportunity visit with admissions counsellors to gain guidance on topics ranging from what subject to major in to what to bring to campus. When they arrive on campus for registration, many of these students meet their admissions counsellors in person for the first time.
“We have students coming in from all over North American and the world,” says Shannon Demant, associate director of Admissions at TWU. “We’ve been working with many of these students for over eight months, so it’s great to see them finally arrive and exciting to see their anticipation.”
“All of our admissions counsellors have graduated from Trinity Western,” she adds, “and they are aware, from first-hand experiences, of the life-changing experiences that lie ahead for these students as they get involved in our community.”
Orientation will extend well into the semester with TWU’s newly launched University 101 course, aimed to help students maneuver the ups and downs of midterms, papers and their first semester of university life.
“Research shows that if students can be helped through the ‘crunch’ time,” explains Chapplow, “during their fifth to tenth weeks of their first semester, they are more likely to persevere in their university career and complete their degree.”
Last fall Chapplow and faculty member Phil Goertzen, PhD, launched University 101, and will facilitate the course again this year. The one-credit course runs for a full semester and explores topics such as personal strengths, goal setting, career direction and time, stress and money management. Students complete various assignments including an academic plan, reaction paper and collaborative learning project.
“The class puts new students in touch with upperclassmen,” shares Goertzen, who works with Chapplow to coincide the academic and student life components of the course.
“And those upperclassmen can give them ideas, suggestions and strategies for succeeding in their courses,” he adds, “as well as in their personal lives and in adjusting psychologically to the university.”
With help from TWU’s student leaders, staff and faculty, the University community is looking forward to welcoming the newcomers who will be part of more than 3,000 students studying at TWU this year in undergraduate, graduate and seminary programs.
Chapplow adds, “At TWU we try to make this transition as smooth as possible by connecting students with the campus community, by building their confidence, lessening their confusion, assisting with their course selection and helping them meet their future career aspirations.”
Demant notes that the admissions team at TWU is already beginning to work with students who are interested in attending TWU in the fall of 2003.
Trinity Western University, located in Langley, B.C., is a not-for-profit Christian liberal arts university enrolling over 3,000 students this year. With a broad-based, liberal arts and sciences curriculum, the University offers undergraduate degrees in 35 major areas ranging from business, education and computer science to biology and nursing, and 12 graduate degrees including counselling psychology, theology and administrative leadership.
Last Updated: 2007-09-26