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Learn how Queen's is planning for our safe return to campus.

Helping students transition to the upcoming academic year

Queen's Student Affairs is offering programs to help first- and second-year students transition to on-campus life.

Graphic for Summer Orientation to Academics and Resources.
Summer Orientation to Academics and Resources and Second-Year Stride will connect students to resources and programming to help them transition to life on campus.

After COVID-19 disrupted many in-person activities this past academic year, many first- and second-year students are looking forward to transitioning to on-campus life this fall. To support their transition, Queen’s Student Affairs has created a variety of resources and programs dedicated to strengthening online pre-arrival engagement.

“While we have had summer orientation activities in place for incoming first-year students for some time, we have expanded our offerings this year to help second-year students whose first year may have been affected by the pandemic,” says Meg Ferriman, Director of Student Life. “Our goal is to make all students feel welcomed and supported as they transition to on-campus life.”

First-year transition activities

First-year undergraduate students will have access to a number of transition resources and activities throughout the summer. This includes the Next Steps website, a hub of critical and timely “to dos” and messages for the incoming class of 2025.

Another key pre-arrival resource for first-year transition is Summer Orientation to Academics and Resources (SOAR), which will run from July 12-23. SOAR, led by the Student Experience Office (SEO), is a combination of self-directed modules, online events, supports, and services.

“We know how important connection and community building is, especially for incoming students,” says Ferriman. “Along with an increased focus on virtual socials where students can meet and connect, we are also excited to be launching Raftr, an online social media communication platform where first-year students can interact, ask questions, and stay informed of key events during SOAR.”

Registration for the Q Success First-Year Peer Mentorship Program will launch during SOAR as well. Through QSuccess, first-year students are assigned an upper-year peer mentor for year-long weekly meetings and social programming. 

Student Academic Success Services (SASS) will also have several programs in place to help students prepare academically, including Academics 101, a mini-course for transitioning students.

The Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC) will focus their programing and outreach throughout the summer and fall on safe travel planning and creating opportunities for connections among international students.

Second-Year Stride: how to prep, what to expect

The SEO, with support from SASS and other partners, will also host Second-Year Stride, which offers transition programming for second-year students, as many of them may have not resided in Kingston during the previous academic year. The programming will help students get settled into Kingston and campus life, and (re)introduce them to campus services and student community.

Second-Year Stride will feature an online information hub along with online and in-person programming on topics such as financial literacy, career strategy, and healthy habits. The information hub will be available throughout the academic year, to ensure students can easily access the resources available to support them in meeting their goals.

“We know that second-year students will be looking forward to being on campus this fall and for many, this will be their first time,” says Susan Korba, Director of SASS. “We want to ensure they feel supported and that they are aware of the services and resources available to them that are designed to help them create meaningful connections with peers, familiarize themselves with campus and the Queen’s community, and feel confident about their academics.”

First- and second-year students looking for resources or community building programming can visit the Next Steps and the Second-Year Stride websites for more information.