students sit and stand smiling at the camera for a group photo in the sunny courtyard

AHEAD Program

The AHEAD Program is an opportunity for students of underrepresented populations to meet other incoming students, get a jump start on their career preparation, connect with staff, faculty, and upper-year students, ask questions, have fun, and stay engaged throughout their Champlain College journey.


AHEAD stands for Academics, Health, Engagement, Achievement, and Discovery.

We start with a multi-day pre-orientation that focuses on programming related to these five areas to better help students settle into their new college environment. Programming includes resume workshops, mock classes, identity activities, team building activities, campus resource sessions, Safe Zone training, and more. During this programming, AHEAD participants will connect with students taking part in International Student Orientation. Students arrive the Monday before New Student Orientation begins, allowing time to adjust and explore before their peers move in.

Throughout the year, there are additional opportunities for students to connect with staff, faculty, and upper-year student mentors. The Office of Diversity & Inclusion, Women’s & Gender Center, and Office of International Student Services continue to provide support throughout the student’s entire Champlain journey.

AHEAD Program students hiking in Vermont

The Community

The AHEAD Program is specifically intended for:

  • First-generation college students whose parents/guardians did not graduate from college/university with a Bachelor’s degree
  • Students with high financial need
  • Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) students
  • New Americans/refugee students
Questions? Contact Us!

Why attend a college pre-orientation program?

Making the transition to college can feel overwhelming at times. The pre-orientation portion of our AHEAD Program allows students to get a feel for campus before the larger community arrives. Students get familiar with the layout of campus, learn about the specific people and resources that are available to them, and meet a cohort of fellow students and friends before classes even start, who you’ll stay connected with throughout your time at Champlain.

Program participants also get to interact with peer mentors, who are upper-year students ready to help give advice, informal tours, and more. Through the AHEAD Program, students start to confidently create their home-away-from-home in a new campus community. In mid June, students who qualify for the program will receive an email with more information and an invitation to register.

AHEAD Program students hiking in Vermont
AHEAD Program students in a field near lake Champlain
AHEAD program lecture in CCM classroom
group photo of the ahead program wearing green shirts

AHEAD Events

AHEAD has supported my journey at Champlain by giving me a sense of belonging. The program allowed me to meet other people of color and create lifelong connections that I might have not made without AHEAD.”
Headshot of Jan Ruiz
Jan Ruiz, ’26

Office of Diversity & Inclusion

IDX Room 303
262 S Willard Street
Burlington, VT 05401
Open 24/7