Article by Natalie Corcoran | Owl Staff
When you begin anything new, you may feel out of your comfort zone and lost in translation of a new world and new expectations. High school may have been intimidating at first, but after four years it felt like home, but as soon as you were comfortable, you graduated. Now you begin your journey as a first-year college freshman. Attending Harford Community College and being a part of the new First Year Experience Freshman Program will help your transition become a smooth one.
The FYE program, which will be piloted this fall, hopes to make freshmen more aware of what HCC offers, as well as put a couple more programs into action. One program is a 1 credit freshman seminar called The Compass Seminar. It will help students get adjusted and provide the tools to become successful college students.
The compass seminar is not mandatory, but Hammond expresses that it is highly recommended and thinks it will be beneficial to all students who register. The students who want to sign up for the course need advisor approval.
The American Association of Community Colleges states that in the fall semester of 2008, forty-three percent of all students attending community college were first year freshmen. The FYE program is being co-chaired by Susan Muaddi Darraj, Associate Professor of English, and Brian Hammond, Director of Admissions.
Muaddi Darraj states, “The college already has many excellent programs in place to assist first year students.” Harford Community College offers knowledgeable advisors and programs such as Rites of Passage, the STEM summer bridge program and the Library’s Information Literacy Program. Rites of Passage, coordinated by Sharoll Love, is a mentoring program designed for first-time, full-time minority students.
College employees serve as mentors to assist students with attaining academic and career goals. In addition, students and mentors participate in free social and cultural events sponsored by the college. Hammond adds, “Our goal is that every student will finish their first semester with the skills and confidence to not only be successful for the rest of their college career, but to be successful for the rest of their life.”
Another new idea being presented is a survival guide. Muaddi Darraj explains, “A survival guide booklet will be offered to the first-year students and contains essential information including who to know, how to contact them and a guide to the first year.”
HCC will also be offering a faculty liaison program with thirty to forty members of the faculty offering office meetings with students that may be interested in a specific field but need guidance in choosing the correct path.
Students can sign up for the faculty liaison by completing a form and finding a faculty member who is in their academic discipline.
Current student Steven Narup expresses, “A major thing that needs to be addressed in college is helping students to better understand what career path best suits their needs, and this program seems to fit that bill. I wish the college had offered a program like this when I was a first-time student. I think this is really going to help a lot of first-time students with their pre-college anxiety!”
Although leaving your second home for the past four years may evoke many feelings, fear should not be one of them. Harford Community College’s faculty, students, and environment will soon make you feel right at home again.