Incoming freshmen and transfer students have the opportunity to participate in NC State’s Summer Start program, which enables them to take classes and get involved in the NC State community before moving in during the fall.
Summer Start runs during Summer Session II. Students participate in classes and co-curricular events for five weeks. Aileen Rodriguez, assistant director for New Student Programs, also talked about the value of getting early opportunities to adjust to college life and make friends.
“It offers an opportunity for students to take classes, especially if they are nervous about that, and transition into the university,” Rodriguez said. “[The students] make friends, build relationships, and have the chance to live in the residence halls and connect with mentors.”
The program, offered to any incoming students, begins in June and runs until the end of July, allowing students to become familiar and comfortable with their surroundings, according to Michael Coombes, director of New Student Programs.
“Feelings of belonging, feelings of comfort, knowing your location, knowing your peers and just knowing how to interact with a faculty member; the comfort that comes with that is huge,” Coombes said.
In total, there are around 200-250 students that participate in the Summer Start program. On any given year, there are around 20-30 transfer students and around 150-200 new first-years, according to Coombes.
Students involved in Summer Start have the chance to live in residence halls and eat in the dining halls on campus. Students are also given opportunities to connect with mentors, according to Rodriguez.
“This year, we have 19 mentors,” Rodriguez said. “They live in the residence halls with the students, they will do weekly check-ins with them, they are part of the co-curricular programming, so the mentors really become liaisons to helping students make connections.”
The students are divided between mentors, making small groups that give the students better opportunities to interact with other people and make new friends, according to Rodriguez. In addition, mentors give the students someone to talk to who has been through the process of transitioning to college and can answer all their questions. Mentors are required to enroll in summer classes as well, so they serve as an important academic influence.
Summer Start mentors can be rising sophomores, juniors or seniors, as long as long as they are students at NC State. Some have participated in the program themselves, so there is a variety of ages, backgrounds and majors, creating a very diverse group, according to Coombes.
The Summer Start program costs around $3,300 for in-state students and around $7,200 for out-of-state students, and financial aid can be applied. The expenses include tuition for an estimated six credit hours, housing, a meal plan and textbooks.
A wide variety of classes are offered, which vary depending on factors such as students’ majors. These range from math classes like MA 111: Precalculus Algebra and Trigonometry, to fitness courses like HESF 101: Fitness and Wellness, introductory humanities like PSY 200: Introduction to Psychology, and many more.
“Our office teaches USC 100, which is ‘Transitioning into a Diverse Community,’ and so that can also be a course that many advisors recommend they take,” Rodriguez said.
By participating in the Summer Start program, incoming students are given the opportunity to connect with different offices and communities on campus. The resources they are given on campus helps create a sense of belonging and helps them figure out where they might want to get involved, Coombes said.
“It’s not easing in, but it’s easing into the transition,” Coombes said. “They are living with and being surrounded by so many types of students. It is a microcosm of what is going to happen in the fall.”
More information about Summer Start can be found on the New Student Programs website.