August 17, 2007
"Orientation can go only so far in making freshmen feel connected" to their college or university, write the editors of US News & World Report in preface to the national publication's annual list of first-year "Programs to Look For" - a list that for the fourth year in a row includes Ball State.
Innovative high school-to-college transitional programs like Ball State's Freshman Connections, Early Start, EXCEL and Cardinal Leadership and Success Seminar (CLASS) are "stellar examples" of first-year experiences that help to promote long-term student success, the magazine reports in its yearly "America's Best Colleges" issue now on newsstands across the country.
Ball State shares honors on the outstanding first-year experiences list with 39 other colleges and universities, including Princeton University, the publication's pick as the nation's top institution of higher learning overall. Also making the grade for helping freshmen feel connected are such well-known institutions as Yale University, Stanford University, the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and Dartmouth College.
"Getting prospective students to apply to and then enroll at Ball State are only the first steps in a long and coordinated process that we hope leads each to earn his or her Ball State diploma," said Tom Taylor, the university's vice president for enrollment, marketing, and communications. "Assisting them early on in the transition from high school to college by promoting a heightened sense of personal responsibility, helping them to develop their time-management and study skills, advising them on the wide range of course offerings available here and doing what we can to foster positive relationships with their peers as well as their professors are key additional steps in getting them from freshman orientation to graduation.
"It's certainly very rewarding to have the efforts of a great many people at Ball State acknowledged each fall in a respected publication like US News & World Report," added Taylor. "But, I think we'd all agree the bigger 'payoff' comes at commencement time each spring, when more than 2,000 of those one-time freshmen leave campus as accomplished, confident and proud Ball State alumni."