Meeting First-Time College Students by – Dr. Daniel de Roulet
To all of the new college or university students seeing this: congratulations on this significant time in your life. If we can be of help in answering any questions you may have about beginning your college career, contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For our educators and administrators, what initially do we know about the students entering our classes this fall?
Obviously we know their names and student numbers, but as persons, we don’t know them at all – yet. We do know that they are entering a new environment, they are beginning careers in higher education without knowing many of the specifics of what that implies, and that this is a moment in their lives that is both a cause for celebration and a cause of anxiety.
A look at the calendar can provide us with some information about this group: – They were born in 1994 (and so was Dakota Fanning) – When they were five years old, Sponge Bob Square Pants was born and immediately given his own TV Series. – In 2001, they were seven years old and the first iPod was introduced – remember, the one with the click wheel? That was the same year that terrorists attacked the United States, and this is the memory that most seem to mention when they speak of their childhoods. – In 2009, our students were 15 years old and had just entered high school. And of course, they graduated from high school—only about 3 months ago. They are inexperienced college students.
As teaching professors and administrators, we can help these students with their transition into college by understanding what – THEY ARE EXPERIENCING and being there to help them. An unfortunate reality of higher education during this time is that there are many students, sometimes hundreds, to one professor.
So, within this unfortunate reality, we must find ways to help our students. Generally, our interactions will be either, ONE TOO MANY or ONE TO ONE. ONE TO MANY situations occurred when we address them during a welcoming meeting or in class for the first time. From David’s background in theatre, he always finds it helpful to think in terms of how I want to be perceived by a group of people, or “What is the Character” that I want to create for my students?
Characters in the entertainment business are created with great attention to detail to portray a person in the story:
- How you walk.
- How you speak – and what you will say.
- Your physical appearance. (Your attire and something as simple as the style of your glasses frames can communicate a great deal about you.)
ONE TO ONE interactions with our students are not easy when we have back to back classes ALL DAY and are eating power bars instead of lunches and dinners.
So, we encourage you to DESIGN YOUR TIME, especially during the first few weeks of instruction to have time for students to meet with you. This can be achieved by not scheduling other activities, meetings and time commitments to do anything other than what is essential.
• Be in your office during your office hours.
• If possible, plan to arrive at your classroom early and stay afterward.
• Dine (or coffee break) where the students are.
• If there is a long line of students who want to speak with you, meet with them in-turn, briefly and schedule a future time when you meet with them again – they will appreciate the knowledge they will eventually have one-on-one time with you.
Email us! Daniel: email@example.com David: firstname.lastname@example.org OR You may tell give voice feedback on student caring TOLL – FREE voice number, 1 – (855) NEWWAY- CARE That’s – 1 -(855) 639-9292