A Freshman Program That Gives Self-Confidence and Study Skills

By Susan D'Elia | The Christian Science Monitor, January 19, 1999 | Go to article overview

A Freshman Program That Gives Self-Confidence and Study Skills


Susan D'Elia, The Christian Science Monitor


The most intense experience of my life so far has been selecting a college. But fortunately for me, I unexpectedly stumbled upon Champlain College. I was skeptical at first about attending Champlain because it was my safety school. I now realize that this close, intimate campus is a better choice than the larger universities that I had once hoped to attend. A key factor of not only my academic growth, but my social growth as well, has been the Freshman Focus Program. Orientation classes can be found in most college curriculums, but Champlain College has embarked on a experiment that takes this type of freshman class to a higher level. The program consists of two academic classes that meet twice a week: "Introduction to Psychology" and a companion course that enforces its concepts. Since students all know each other and live in the same dorm, the class possesses a very comfortable learning environment. On the days that we do not attend psychology, we meet in a more personal classroom for Freshman Focus. There, we discuss the psychology lectures and review study skills. We take practice tests and hold study groups prior to any exam. The class also makes us more aware of problems on and off campus, such as sexual harassment, diversity, drugs, and alcohol. Currently in class, we are planning a community-service project to be carried out in the town of Burlington. Here at Champlain, I live in a beautifully restored Victorian dormitory. I share these living quarters with 30 other students, 25 of whom are members of Freshman Focus. There is a lot more than academics involved in the Freshman Focus program. It reinforces skills not only at the academic level, but at the social level as well. Through living and working with these 25 unique people, I have made friendships that will last a lifetime. …

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