COLUMBIA — A record number of freshmen will pass through Columbia in the next few weeks for MU’s Summer Welcome program, prompting the addition of two extra sessions.
The new dates will help to keep the numbers low enough that the students have better access to leaders.
The program helps students and their families get ready for college.
“Our goal is really to get them acclimated and off to a good start,” said David Rielley, senior coordinator of new student programs.
Summer Welcome has been preparing students for college since the ’60s with a variety of activities designed to help students get used to life on campus.
“I think that the way they acclimated and transitioned the kids was really great,” said Amy Bankston of St Louis, the mother of a new student participating in Summer Welcome.
Usually, students who will be living in the same residence hall are split into small groups where they can ask questions about the upcoming school year. At times, the groups are also divided by similar majors.
“I would say (the most important thing is) meeting other people and making connections so when they get to campus it makes fall easier,” said Brent McCauley, student co-coordinator of Summer Welcome.
Students not only interact with other incoming freshman, but they meet older students as well. They are led by 36 student leaders who are chosen for both leadership experience and diversity.
“We look for students who have leadership experience, are in different years, different majors and are from different parts of the country,” said Rielley.
Incoming students visit with academic advisors and sign up for their first semester of classes.
Health and wellness issues as well as MU traditions and the particulars of the MU schools or colleges are covered in informational sessions.
“(The best thing was) getting to go to the actual college my major was in and getting to ask questions and getting them answered,” said Susie Griffith, an animal sciences major from Anderson, S.C.