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Content Any Way U Want It!

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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
September 21, 2023

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Keeping freshmen enrolled

The University is being proactive in its goal to help freshmen feel connected to students, organizations and classes.

A six-week challenge has been formed among University administrators, the Resident Student Association, the Undergraduate Student Goverment and other student organizations to provide programs and information to incoming freshmen in hopes to get students involved on campus and to stay at BGSU.

USG President Johnnie L. Lewis said compared to some competing schools, the University has a lower percentage of freshmen retention.

There are a number of reasons why a student may decide to leave or transfer to another school.

“Students could be facing financial problems, their program may not be available, or they could just be homesick,” said Assistant Vice President for Academic Services Connie Smith.

The University has implemented several initiatives such as the BG experience program in order to welcome incoming freshmen.

The Undergraduate Student Government and the Resident Student Association have also been working to get freshmen involved.

Director of Executive Initiatives Jarrell Potts feels two things have already happened once the freshmen are on campus.

“They have already enrolled here wanting a degree and have moved in so there must have been something that caught their interest at BGSU,” he said.

Potts concern is between the months of October and November when programs die down.

“Once the six-week challenge ends we hope to keep programs going throughout the semester,” he said.

USG President Johnnie L. Lewis also hopes these programs will help freshman to feel connected.

“I feel if you leave this University you are taking away my opportunity to get to know you,” he said.

“It is really the little things because college should make us realize that we are not just meant to get a degree but also getting out and enjoying people for what they are worth,” Lewis said.

USG will be having an open forum Oct. 10 at 7 p.m., and an open house Oct. 11 from 3-7 p.m. on the 4th floor of the Union.

The University also offers the S.M.A.R.T program for students of color in mentoring, aiding, retaining and teaching.

“Students must live on-campus in order to help students learn what it is like to be in college. We have social programs, academic programming and a newsletter each month,” said Michelle Buggs, Graduate S.M.A.R.T. coordinator.

The mentors are upper-classmen from a wide range of areas on campus to help keep these students involved.

“Our main goal is to help them come back and graduate with a degree,” Michelle Buggs said.

Students are encouraged to fill out an application on the Residence Life Web site.

The administration also continues to implement plans for incoming students.

“Sometimes the personal reasons that cause students to leave are often a result of not becoming connected with the institution so orientation leaders and peer facilitators help to do this,” Smith said.

Mandatory advising has been implemented for incoming freshman for the past three years.

“Before that, it was strongly encouraged just so advisors could touch base to help steer students in the right direction,” she said.

An early alert program which was put into effect last year allows BGexperience, math and statistics, and general study instructors to refer first year students and athletes who are not attending class or participating.

“It then comes to me and I basically try to touch base with the student and e-mail their advisor or any other form of outreach such as Residence Advisors to help the student feel connected,” Smith said.

The University has also placed support systems in the Residence Halls such as MacDonald, Harshman-Bromfield and Kohl.

Allowing for math and statistics tutors and writing center consultants for students when Moseley student services are not available.

The mid-term progress reports for first-year students, athletes, transfers, President Leadership Academy scholars and a few others gives students the opportunity to see how they are doing in their classes.

“It can sometimes serve as a wake up call if the student thought they were doing better than they actually are,” she said.

The administration hopes to keep frustration down for incoming freshman by providing such services.

“If we can help students avoid jumping through hoops then they are more likely to stay because students will no longer feel like just a number,” Smith said.

If students do decide to move or transfer they are asked to answer various questions to help the administration understand what they could improve on and how they could help.

“Our main goal is not to retain students but to help them experience success at BGSU and if excelling, getting involved, and feeling that people care helps then our argument is we will then be able to retain,” she said.

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