First Year Experiences

The Spring ’09 semester started up last week and with that we welcomed quite a few new students.  Many of the students who began their UMBC career last week were transfer students, but we also welcomed some new freshmen students.  The majority of our new students start during our Fall semester though; we welcome about 1,500 freshmen each year.  Starting off at a new college or university can be a bit intimidating, but that is why many schools offer programs to help ease the transition.  UMBC is no exception; we offer a variety of first-year experience programs for both freshmen and transfer students.

So what type of experiences does UMBC offer?  The Office of Undergraduate Education sponsors many of the initiatives and one very exciting program is the First-Year Seminar.  The First-Year Seminars are courses with a limited class size that dive deeply into a topic, allowing students to discuss, learn and work with each other.  These classes are a great introduction to the academics here at UMBC and they set students up to be prepared for the other educational opportunities they will have, such as research.

Another great program for our new students is the New Student Book Experience.  According to the Office of Undergraduate Education the NSBE “provides an intellectually stimulating interaction that welcomes new students into the UMBC community.”  Each year a book is chosen for the UMBC community to read; this year the novel was The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.  As a follow up to the discussions and activities that take place around the book, the author also visits the campus.  In fact, Ms. Walls will be visiting UMBC tomorrow to discuss her book!  Check out the following link for more information on her visit.

In addition to the opportunities that a university can provide you during your first year I encourage all new students to get involved.  College is a new and exciting time, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.  Trust me, as soon as you do, you won’t have any regrets.