Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Back-to-School

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Back-to-School

Article excerpt

Students are packing bags and buying notebooks and other supplies to get ready for the coming school year. Faculty and administrators also are busy preparing to welcome them back. Here's a peek at what some schools are doing to prepare for the rapidly approaching fall term.

The Registration Shuffle

Long lines, endless paperwork, and general confusion are all hallmarks of the registration process that occurs at the beginning of each semester. It goes smoother at some schools than others.

Last spring, Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia, enlisted alumni volunteers to assist in various registration stations to answer student questions and monitor how well the process was working.

"One of the benefits was that there were other mature individuals there, looking like parents and grandparents, who were empathetic and could point students in the right direction," says Dr. Frederick Fresh, registrar at the 5,000student university. -It worked very w ell. We plan to implement it again this fall."

New-Student Orientation

Orienting new students to the campus is a crucial affair because first impressions are lasting. At historically Black institutions, this time of year can provide an opportunity to reinforce the traditions and benefits associated with attending an all Black college or university. At traditionally White schools, helping students of color connect with the campus organizations that are there to help them out can greatly impact retention rates.

Thandabantu Maceo is the director of admissions at historically Black Central State University in Wilberforce Ohio. He says that rebuilding is the buzz word on campus. The workshops informing students of campus policies and organizations and the socials which break the ice during freshman orientation are key to boosting up enrollment numbers.

"It's important that we use the opportunity to further increase our yield," says Maceo. "By helping students make the transition to college life and having considerable contact with them, we decrease the fallout."

At Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan, they know that helping minority students get acclimated to the campus is especially important. So they offer their minority affairs office as a home base for students of color while they are learning to navigate around the campus. …

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