Two weeks ago, I wrote about a couple of guys who got off to fast starts in the college, landed great jobs before they graduated and were backpacking through Europe for a few weeks before starting their professional lives with GE Healthcare and Citibank. The blog post was entitled The Value of a Fast Start and I used their stories at Welcome to the Majors as great examples of how students could thoughtfully execute a plan to “get to the one.” I then went on to shake hands and briefly chat with about 300 of our new students about their plans for the future.
Those conversations and that blog post got me thinking about how we on-board students, especially our transfer students who made up the bulk of attendees at Welcome to the Majors this summer. On-boarding involves helping newcomers acquire the knowledge, skills, and behaviors to become effective members of an organization. It is designed to remove some of the frustration and anxiety around being new and get people up to speed quickly so they can become productive contributors sooner and more smoothly.
Our college orientation focuses largely on course planning and the rules of academic standing and graduation requirements. Welcome to the Majors introduces students to the culture of the college, a few key people and our student organizations. But neither of these events focuses on the transition to the College and the “street smarts” necessary to succeed with us. So, I’m taking some time this summer to think through that process and put some resources toward a better on-boarding program.
What I could use from all of you, especially those students who just joined us, are examples of the difficulties you have had in adjusting to your new college and suggestions on what we could do about it in the first few weeks you are here. Just leave your thought as comments to this post. I’m not sure we will be able to address all of them, but the process starts with me listening.