Office of Public Affairs
(315) 312-2265
March 29, 2001
CONTACTS: Rhonda Mandel, 312-2232
Kathy Evans, 312-2140
OSWEGO -- Helping first-year students at SUNY Oswego begin a successful college career is the goal of a new initiative: FirstChoice. SUNY Oswego will launch the program for students entering in the fall.
FirstChoice is an umbrella which includes several programs available to first-year students at Oswego based on their interests and abilities.
"All the courses are designed to introduce students to college and provide skills we think are necessary to succeed," says Kathy Evans, director of the Student Advisement Center.
What makes FirstChoice unique is the element of choice, she says. "At other colleges it's 'one size fits all.' This is based on what your interests are and whether you're coming to us with any previous experience."
The program is not mandatory, Associate Provost Rhonda Mandel is quick to note. "But we do hope students will do it," she says.
There are 1,030 seats in the classes under the FirstChoice program for next fall, but some students may choose more than one option. "Students in Gateway to Business may also be in the Honors Program," says Mandel. "Or, they may be interested in the leadership course."
Most of the programs under the FirstChoice umbrella were already in place: the Honors Program; Champs Life Skills, for student athletes; Preceptor Program, which incorporates first-year success skills into academic courses; Gateway to Business; and First-year Select.
Three courses are new for fall 2001. A three-credit course, "Leadership in Action," will help students develop a personal philosophy of leadership as they learn social responsibility. The "Service Learning" course centers on service to the community, as students participate in an approved community service project and share the experience with classmates. The First-Year Seminar Experience is designed especially to ease students' transition to campus by helping them to learn strategies and develop skills they will need to be successful at college.
Mandel says the new program "integrates the elements that we know are related to student success: small class size, forming a cohort, presenting information about study skills and academic success, introducing resources like clubs, organizations and support services," she says. "And it's doing these in the context of a real course."
FirstChoice will be introduced in mailings to all first-year students. They will also be able to pre-register for the courses as part of block scheduling before summer orientation.
For more information about the FirstChoice programs, call Evans at 312-2240.
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