Friday, Sep 9, 2022
Personalized team, 20+ events and more welcome new students to the University
by Rachel Stengel '14, '20
This fall, Rider launched a new First-Year Experience program for first-time Broncs. The robust program is designed to ease the transition to college and set students up for success in the classroom and beyond.
Rider's First-Year Experience provides students with a personalized team of faculty, staff and student leaders, programs, events and activities to showcase the litany of ways they can make the most of their collegiate experience.
“A successful transition in the first year is essential for students to make the most of their entire college experience," says Dr. Leanna Fenneberg, vice president for Student Affairs. "We want to help all students, especially our new students, find their place within the Rider community and support them throughout their individual journeys."
During the summer, students were introduced to their team, which consisted of an admissions counselor, a financial aid counselor, an orientation leader, a navigation coach to connect students to personal and academic resources, an academic adviser and a career coach. Students were first welcomed to the University during Orientation, where groups of orientation leaders prepared new Broncs for their transition to Rider in small groups.
Five early arrival programs allowed specific groups of students to move into Rider ahead of time. They include the Milestone Scholars Program, the Educational Opportunity Program, the Student Support Services Program, the Multicultural Student Leadership Institute program and the Rider Bonner Community Scholars program. The programs help students build connections with classmates, access resources and get acclimated to the Rider community before the start of classes.
Welcome Week, which runs Sept. 4-10, marks the official start of the semester for all Rider students. Beginning with New Student Move-in Day, Welcome Week offers more than 20 events, including beloved Rider traditions Cranchella, Rider Rock Fest and Drag Race.
Also part of the experience, Rider is piloting a new, credit-bearing first-year seminar course this fall. The pilot project will include first-year students from majors in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Norm Brodsky College of Business. The course will introduce students to issues of diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice, and incorporate discussions and activities based on topics within a common read across class sections. Students will read and discuss Tales of Two Americas: Stories of Inequality in a Divided Nation by John Freeman. The course will also provide a foundation for the essential skills and habits needed to become a successful student at the collegiate level.
"This new seminar will not only help students acclimate to college life, but will allow them to delve into important, capacious, complex topics with their peers and be introduced to the habits of mind that lead to a life of independent learning and inquiry," says Dr. DonnaJean A. Freeden, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.
Rider's newest Broncs can get a jump start on participating in Rider's mandatory Engaged Learning Program. Students must earn points throughout their collegiate career by completing experiences in a variety of categories, including arts, media or creativity; civic or community engagement; leadership or mentoring; study abroad or cultural exploration; guided research or scholarship; or internship, co-op or fieldwork. New students who attend six Rider events among a number of categories can earn the New Student Engagement Experience Point.
New students can also begin their requirements for the Cranberry Investment by meeting with their career coach. Launched in 2021, the Cranberry Investment guarantees that undergraduate students who fulfill their responsibilities will obtain an entry-level job related to their field of study or be accepted into graduate or professional school within six months of graduation.