Journey - Discover - Connect - Thrive
As another school year wraps up, we invite you to join us in reflecting on your student’s first years: the journey that felt as though it may never begin, the trek that was over much too fast, the many experiences that shaped your student throughout the first years at U-M. The path of each student is unique, and your student was able to discover much about who they are throughout their college years. What did your student find out about themselves, their career path, their interests?
Making a successful transition through the first year of college is crucial to students’ success, and from that realization grew the First Year Experience (FYE) program. The FYE program offers students help in navigating a multitude of opportunities to connect with others and countless ways to thrive during their first year. Do you recall the highlights of your student’s first year? Was it an easy transition? As parents, you may have felt a little anxiety through it all.
To better understand their experience, we asked students what resources supported their success at U-M. Overwhelmingly, students shared that one of the biggest factors for their successful transition to U-M were their resident advisors (RAs). Connections built in residential communities lead to meeting new people, participating in residence hall events, and adding to students’ sense of belonging. Did anyone, in particular, have a supportive influence when you were your student’s age? Our analysis shows that this generation of students connects with RAs in meaningful ways.
Beyond their living experience, academic courses guide how students spend their time and efforts. Students explored interests and career paths ranging from Organic Chemistry to Art History to Extreme Weather. Some students took advantage of a one-credit course, called Making the Most of Michigan, a part of FYE. In the course, students were invited to engage in goal-setting, learning to collaborate across differences, and developing a digital presence through an online resume building tool called MPortfolio. Reflecting on their experience in the class, one student emphasized,
“I discovered what I want to do with my life while taking this class, and largely because of this class.”
Students also expressed growth in developing skills to build safe, inclusive, respectful communities. Community Matters, a set of programs within the Dean of Students Office and a partner with the First Year Experience, includes four required undergraduate first year programs both online and in-person: AlcoholEdu, Haven, Relationship Remix, and Change it Up!. After participating in one of the bystander intervention workshops, one student shared, “Other people's lives have been shaped by different experiences and you should try to be understanding of that,” indicating a new perspective on their classmates and world. We hope you have seen similar growth in your student.
If you ask your student, “What was most memorable about your first year?” what might they say?
The FYE program helps students in the transition, as they find their path and explore their passions here at Michigan. A great college experience involves as much learning outside of the classroom as from within. Attending football games, joining clubs, making decisions about a career path, and developing a sense of belonging are all part of the experience.
In conclusion, we would like to share how appreciative this generation of students are. Students expressed gratitude toward academic advisors and the Sweetland Center for Writing, as well as 95 other offices, departments, and campus resources! Another realization? How much they appreciate your support!
To help Student Life continue making a difference in students' lives, please consider making a gift.