Remember the overwhelming feeling you had right before a major change was about to take place in your life? This is a feeling most students have before entering their freshmen year of college. Students are nervous about meeting new friends and being successful in college.
Each summer, the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources prepares to help its incoming freshmen adjust to a new, exciting life as a college student. Through multiple programs, CASNR students can successfully transition into college life. One step to success is to become involved. According to Rachel Bobbitt, coordinator of student programs in CASNR, these programs have proven to help freshmen succeed the most.
Ag Fest is a back-to-school event that occurs during the first week of the fall semester. The Student Success Center, Ag Workers Insurance and Ag Council sponsor the event. This is a time to welcome back students and faculty and introduce new students to CASNR. The event provides dinner, a live band and door prizes. The Masked Rider, Raider Red, and Saddle Tramps also attend Ag Fest.
Ag mentors are encouraged to bring their pal to this event in order to introduce them to CASNR and see what the college offers. According to the CASNR website, there are more than 30 organizations and clubs for students to join. Students are given the opportunity to meet with these groups, which helps them decide if they want to join.
Ag Pals is a program incoming CASNR students can join during their first year at Texas Tech University. The Ag Pals program has two sides: the pals, who are new students, and mentors, who are sophomores, juniors, or seniors in CASNR.
Mentors make their CASNR pal a welcome basket, which is placed in the student’s dorm room before arriving at Texas Tech. Ag Pals are encouraged to assist students as they move into the dorms, take the students around campus to help find their classes, introduce them to new people, and attend Ag Fest.
“Ag Pals offer a friendly face, and are there to answer questions,” Bobbitt said. “Students may not feel comfortable coming into our office to ask for help, but they may go to their mentor.”
The Freshmen Interest Group is comprised of students who live in the CASNR Learning Community. These students share four of the same classes with other students in the learning community.
Scott Burris, associate professor in agricultural education, said the interest group has a maximum of 40 students broken down into two categories: 20 pre-vet students and 20 CASNR students.
“If you have a test in agriculture economics,” Burris said, “19 people that live on your floor have the same test, on the same day, from the same instructor.”
Burris said he believes that living on the same floor helps students transition to college classes during their first semester.
The CASNR Learning Community is another program for freshmen when entering the fall semester. The community is a floor on the residence halls of the Stangel and Murdough complex where students live among other CASNR students. The purpose of the learning community is for students with similar interests and classes to live by each other.
Hunter Cleveland, freshman in animal science, said the learning community has helped him meet people in his classes who also live on his floor. He also said that he has been involved in study groups for tests since the people who live around him share the same classes.
According to CASNR, research shows students living in a learning community will have an increased GPA, are more likely to become involved with organizations on campus, experience an easier transition into college and have high class attendance.