Oct 232005
Authors: Elena Ulyanova

There are few ways a student can ask questions about college that some may consider common sense without being completely embarrassed.

The Community College of Denver provides a College 101, student experience course that incorporates the non-academic perspective of college into a one-credit course. Smaller, more personal classes present a chance for students to voice their questions and concerns about college life. The course also devotes time to helping students get around campus, discusses available resources and different study strategies. There is also a focus on diversity and making sure students are fitting in and getting connected with other students and the community.

Transition seminars also address the concern of retaining students, which is a dilemma many colleges and universities across the nation face.

Until four years ago, CSU had a required freshman seminar that assisted new students with the transition into college. The course was dropped by the university after the faculty council voted that it not be required.

Jody Donovan, director of Student Transition and Parent and Family programs, said although there were some that enjoyed the class, there was also a "large outcry" against it and some of the faculty didn't think they should be teaching it or that students shouldn't be receiving credit for it.

Although CSU does provide freshman transition workshops that spotlight many of the same issues because these workshops are not mandatory many students don't think that they are important, Donovan said.

"Only 15 to 20 students show up for these workshops, and this is information all first year students should have," Donovan said.

Lanine Baccam, coordinator for new student orientation programs at the Community College of Denver said she believes every college or university could gain from such a seminar.

"I certainly think any student can benefit from it, it's touching on a lot of topics that we tend to forget. Students who are attending four-year universities are being thrown into these rigorous schedules and don't know how to manage them," Baccam said. "It's a huge transition; nobody is ever there to tell you how college works."

Steve Panella, junior history major concentrating on secondary education said a transitional freshman seminar would definitely help students especially if it taught students how to research with the Morgan Library databases correctly, use WebCT and assist in choosing or pursuing a major.

"Going to college for the first time is a total change from high school; it would be like going from the minor league to the major league in baseball," Panella said. "It would help students to have somewhere they can get into gear for college."

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