First-year students prepare for life at Queen's

Queen's Connections

First-year students prepare for life at Queen's

Queen’s is connecting incoming students throughout the summer with opportunities to build community and get ready to start their studies.

By Communications Staff

July 24, 2023



Photograph of an incoming first-year Queen's with their parents during the Summer Orientation to Academics and Resources
More than 1,700 new students, parents, and supporters took part in this year's Summer Orientation to Academics and Resources.

Members of the first-year undergraduate class are starting to prepare for their transition to life at Queen’s, and the university is supporting them with community-building events, resources, peer mentorship, and much more through First-Year Foundation. As part of the program, Queen’s recently welcomed more than 1,700 new students, parents, and supporters to campus over six days for Summer Orientation to Academics and Resources (SOAR).

“Incoming students often have a lot of questions about academic expectations and life at Queen’s, and SOAR helps them feel reassured before they arrive for the start of the fall term,” says Hanna Knowles, Coordinator, Student & Transition Programs, Student Experience Office in Student Affairs. “SOAR also introduces students and their families to the wide array of resources that support them throughout their time at university, from help with academics to cultural supports, leadership opportunities, wellness programming, and everything in between.”

During SOAR, incoming students and their guests spent a day at Queen’s, exploring campus on student-led tours and attending information sessions where they had the opportunity to ask questions of upper-year students, speak to faculty members and staff, and meet classmates.

Current upper-year students helped welcome and mentor attendees by serving as SOAR Peer Ambassadors. In this role, the 14 Peer Ambassadors shared their unique experiences at Queen’s, answered questions, and talked with incoming students about Queen’s resources.

“At SOAR we saw first-year students make meaningful connections with their peers, as well as engage with our upper-year Peer Ambassadors from their faculty or school,” says Haleigh Schreyer, SOAR Student Lead. “It was incredibly rewarding to see students leave the day feeling more secure, knowledgeable, and supported in their upcoming university journey.”

First-Year Foundation helps students year-long

While SOAR wrapped up July 15, there are more First-Year Foundation initiatives throughout the summer and the upcoming academic year.

Peer Ambassadors and Queen’s staff from the Student Experience Office will continue to connect with the new class through regular online socials, as well as webinars focused on a range of topics relevant to first-year students, including residence move-in and course registration.

Incoming students are already connecting with each other on Raftr, a digital community platform exclusively for first-year students. Once the fall term begins, they can continue to use Raftr to build their community, learn about upcoming events, and find answers to their questions.

First-year students have the option to be paired with upper-year student mentors through QSuccess. Over the course of the academic year, mentors share their experiences and offer guidance about life and learning at Queen’s through one-on-one sessions. Registration is open now and will be available throughout the year.

Incoming students can also help prepare for their studies by taking FYF 100, a self-directed online course that outlines academic expectations at university, and introduces them to academic supports, resources, important dates and deadlines, and OnQ, Queen’s learning management system. All incoming students were able to access FYF 100 starting in June.

Preparations for Fall Orientation are well underway. Events start Saturday September 2 with Residence Move-In, and the first-year Off-Campus Community welcome events, and continue through September 10.

Learn more on the Student Experience Office website.

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