For McHenry County College student Edward Abraham, being a student orientation leader has expanded his knowledge of the array of resources on campus, which he says helps him to be a better student. In addition to giving tours and sharing his first-year experiences with new students, he has a keener grasp on how to “deal with things.”
“I like to help students by sharing my experiences,” said Abraham, who lives in Cary. For example, he tells new students that counselors can help them choose a career path and campus public safety police officers, who are on duty 24-7, are willing to help students at any time. “They helped me find my car in the parking lot during a severe snowstorm last year,” he said.
“Being involved on campus, such as a student orientation leader, helps you to learn more about the school. You find out what’s going on and know how to deal with things,” he said.
Abraham is just one example of how students succeed when they are actively engaged in college and make the most of their education. Abraham’s advisor encouraged him to apply as a student orientation leader after he initiated and conducted a successful band-aid drive for Children’s Memorial Hospital last year, collecting 600 boxes of band-aids, including the matched donation of 300 boxes from MCC Student Senate.
MCC administrators are committed to help all students to find success, whether by earning a degree, certificate or job or personal skills to enhance their life.
To help first-year students transition from high school to college, feel a sense of belonging, and enhance their academic and personal success, MCC will host its second annual New-Student Convocation from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 16.
The event will begin with a student resource fair, followed by a convocation ceremony in the MCC Gym/Multi-Purpose Room that will feature an academic charge from MCC President Vicky Smith, encouraging students to take advantage of the variety of opportunities and challenge themselves, both academically and in extracurricular efforts. Other highlights will include a skit about the faculty-student relationship performed by MCC students, faculty and staff, followed by a picnic lunch with a carnival theme, featuring a dunk dank and a tug-of-war tournament.
The convocation also will include brief workshops for both faculty and new students where they can choose from a variety of innovative topics such as “Conquering the First Week,” “You Said What?!” “Hugging Facebook,” Not the Same Old Presentation,” and “How to Pay for College.” First-year students will have a chance to win prize drawings for a $500 and two $300 gift cards to the MCC Bookstore.
“The convocation is not just about celebrating the first day; it’s to equip students with the necessary tools to get through their first year,” said Flecia Thomas, Ph.D., dean of Student Success. “It’s a research-proven way of contributing toward student success. It’s also about the College community making a commitment to the students and students making a commitment to themselves.”
Thomas said the more faculty and students interact together, research shows the chances for successful retention and graduating is enhanced.
The convocation is one of a variety of efforts that MCC has in place to ensure a student is successful in his or her first year. In addition to the day-long event, first-year students attend a one-day orientation that includes a campus tour and meeting with academic advisors as a group to select their courses. First-year students take placement tests for reading, math and English and enroll in The College Experience (MCC 101), a required course that provides a foundation for college success and lifelong learning. Students also have the opportunity to brush up on study skills in the College Success Seminar (MCC 102) class.
After the convocation, students will have an opportunity to come back to the College on Aug. 17 for a “Walk Your Schedule” event, an informal event where students can walk through the hallways to find their classrooms before the official first day of school in Aug. 20.
Second-year student Jasmine Brown of Lake in the Hills made connections with administrators and staff during last year’s convocation who gave her opportunities that she otherwise would not have had.
“At first, I wasn’t going to attend convocation because my mom went to MCC and I was familiar with the campus," Brown said. "But, what I really went for was the raffle for a free semester’s worth of books. I didn’t get that, but I was recruited for the women’s basketball team and I got a lead for a part-time job on campus.”