It’s Not Where You Start. It’s Where You Finish

By: Abigail Hughes

 

Each fall, Malone welcomes a new class of students. They come to Malone from different parts of the the United States and other countries as well. All first-year stu-dents coming to Malone start off with one thing in common: they are all taking a step into a new chapter of life. The transition to college is not always easy. This year, Malone has the highest percentage of students en-tering on the probationary pathway. How does Malone create an atmosphere to help those students on the probationary pathway, as well as all other first-year students, to make a smooth, clean transition? “Everyone who God calls to Malone has a pathway to degree.” said Beth Clark-Thom-as, dean for retention and student success. “The pathways differ as widely as the gifts God gave each of us.” Those accepted to Malone on the probationary path-way are put into a specific course to give them further help with not only college skills, but life skills for be-yond their time at Malone. “We look at you as a whole package and tap individuals that we believe may need extra love and support to make it on a fresh, strong start here at Malone,” said Clark-Thomas. Malone offers free peer-tutoring and requires those on the probationary pathway to connect with a tutor. Students on the probationary pathway are also given career counseling. Connected with a coun-selor, they look at all of the different career options based on their strengths, weaknesses and interests. “What we know from our data is students who are engaged in a relationship with a major and professors in that major and it’s in their passion, they are on a traditional pathway and persist, get their degree and go change the world for the Lord,” said Clark-Thomas. For all students, Malone has created the college experience program. Each first-year student is sorted into a section and those behind the scenes work to distribute gender, athletes, clubs and transfer students equally. Each section of the course is lead by a facul-ty member and a course assistant. “We have a really good foundation for the students that come in,” said Sarah Udell, ju-nior communication arts major and course assistant. “Not only are they coming into this class and learning about all of these other hard topics like ‘who do I want to surround myself with?’, time management, other per-spectives coming in, how to manage college, how to succeed, but they are doing it with that foundation we’ve set.” As a course assistant, Sarah’s role is in and out of the classroom. A course assis-tant is an upperclassman peer assisting the first-year students with their transition to Malone. They meet with their students one-on-one throughout the semester and check in with them. Course assistants are available to their first-year students for questions and concerns as someone who has already been through the transition. They also act as a bridge between the students and the faculty. “We schedule section events multiple times during the semester,” said Udell. “We have that foundation set, but we don’t want to start them that way and then drop them. We want to continue that, foster it and help them grow.” Malone also has an entire five days dedi-cated to first-year student orientation. The first-year student orientation gives the new students a chance to become acclimated to campus before the start of classes. The students spend most of the orientation with their college experience sections and their course assistants, building a foundation for the first-year students to help with a success-ful and smooth transition. Malone puts new things in place each year to continue to build the college experience program. Every year, first-year students take an updated, tailored college experience course designed specifically for their class of students. “Freshman orientation was great and college experience is a big help,” said Joshua Kasler, freshman music major. “It creates a bond in a group where people can just help each other out if they need it.”

 

September 17th 2018

 

LXIII Issue No. 1

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