Orientation leaders waive and smaile as they stand on a stone wall, Champlain College sign

New Student Experience

Incoming first-year and transfer students have a lot to look forward to during their first year at Champlain College.

Starting your journey at a new college will naturally initiate a lot of questions. What will the first two semesters look like? Will I know what to do and where to go? How will I make friends? Am I ready for my classwork?

During your first year at Champlain, we have programs, classes, and experiences designed to set you up for success. They will help you become familiar with campus support systems, equip you with tips for managing your wellbeing during this life transition, and help you learn how to confidently take on new challenges in your professional and personal worlds. Sounds pretty beneficial, right?

What is the New Student Experience?

New Student Experience is a holistic approach to your first year of education at Champlain: OrientationCore, and InSight—which includes our Champ 101 program. Taken together, they provide the skills and knowledge you need to succeed as a Champlain College student. Transfer students also benefit from our Transfer Connections program.

Orientation leaders welcome new students to campus with hand-made signs

New Student Orientation

Four days of fun, games, and helpful info galore! New Student Orientation begins the Thursday before classes, giving new students the opportunity to get acclimated to campus before upper-year students return. The festivities kick off with moving into your new residence hall and meeting your roommates and hallmates. The weekend is filled with fun activities like live music, games in the courtyard, and a movie under the stars. You'll have lunch with some of your professors, explore Burlington, and hear from staff about different supports available on campus. Last but not least, you'll enjoy a beloved College tradition: a sunset boat cruise on Lake Champlain. (Hint: You'll do this again before Commencement to bookend your time here. Cue the sentimental feels.)

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Three female students speak together during a team exercise

Year 1 of Core

In your first year of the Core curriculum, you will focus on being a student. What is your role, both here on campus and in a historical sense? Where can you find support? How do you write a college-level paper, anyway? During fall semester, you take a Navigating Higher Education course and a First Year Inquiry class focused on reading, writing, and a topic based on your interests, such as the outdoors, revolutionary art movements or songs, happiness, or resistance.

Spring semester courses include Navigating Your Information Landscape and a First Year Inquiry class about making or doing. (Examples include Making Alternate Reality Games and Making a Better Community.) Transfer students, your Core experience will look a little different. (Your advisor will let you know all the details!)

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A Career Advisor gives a presentation during an InSight event on campus

Gain InSight

Four milestones ahead: Let the games begin! Champlain's InSight program gets you thinking and learning about personal finance, career positioning, and wellbeing from day one at Champlain. Create a personalized student loan repayment plan, polish your résumé, launch your LinkedIn profile, and learn how to set healthy boundaries.

One of the most notable events you'll partake in your first year is the Game of Life—a live action budget simulation that explores what your financial life may look like after college, based on a starting salary tied to your major, priorities, and lifestyle. Champ 101 is also part of InSight's wellbeing theme and plays a big role in your new student experience. Find more on that below!

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Two women sit together with laptops while one points to something on the other's screen

Champ 101

Get your game face on: It's time to become a resilient, college-ready student! Champ 101 is a 10-week program focused on building community (meeting friends!) and supporting your academic, social, and personal transition to Champlain. How do we do this, you ask? Your group will meet once or twice a week (depending on the week) with a peer and employee facilitator. You'll connect to campus resources, people, and opportunities; examine your role in creating an inclusive Champlain community; explore how to care for your personal health and wellbeing; and learn about important College processes so when the time comes, you know what to do and who to talk to.

We believe it's important for students to develop a strong sense of belonging to ease the transition to a new environment. Bonus: There's no out-of-classroom work! Just show up and absorb advice from experts on how to set yourself up for success for your whole college journey. Champ 101 is required and is your first-year wellbeing milestone for the InSight Program.

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two students sit in a computer lab talking to one another while another student and professor converse in the background

Transfer Connections

Transfer Connections is a program for students who transferred to Champlain and previously experienced a college orientation. The goal? Offer tailored workshops that recognize needs specific to transfer students. Personal wellbeing is a strong indicator of success as a college student, which is why all six workshops are designed to create a sense of belonging and foster academic success among transfer students, similar to how Champ 101 does for first-year students.

The meetings are not mandatory, and are open to any transfer student. Get a sneak peak of past workshop topics:

  • Week 1: Find offices on campus, learn about categories of experiences, and ask questions.
  • Week 2: Look at your strengths, move the needle on one strength, and see how SMART goals can help.
  • Week 3: What is success? Unpack paradigms.
  • Week 4: How am I adjusting? How do I deal with stress?
  • Week 5: What is all this talk about mindfulness?
  • Week 6: What are midterm grades and what do they mean?

Get Involved

Beyond the required programs above, there are plenty of other opportunities to engage with the Champlain and Burlington communities as you settle into your new home.

Students playing club rugby

Clubs and Activities

Find your niche by checking out the many student clubs and activities on campus! Our advice? Attend any that pique your interest during the first few weeks of school and then decide which ones are the best fit for you! Options range from athletic intramurals to academic, arts and entertainment, social and political clubs, student leadership positions, student publications, and beyond.

Admissions Ambassadors pose for a group photo

Work on Campus

One of the many unique things about Champlain is the number of student jobs available on campus. In your first semester, you can start in a great position that relates to your interests. Check out Handshake, our job posting platform, to learn how you can get involved (and get paid) in the different offices and departments in our campus community. Both work-study and non-work-study positions are posted. First-year students gain access to Handshake in mid-August. Become a Diversity Ambassador with our Office of Diversity & Inclusion, work at the library, assist our study abroad office, plan student events, and more.

Students giving thumbs up as they enjoy an outdoor event on campus

Engage with Events on Campus

We want to see you at campus events! Once the school year begins, The View Events section is filled with opportunities to engage with different clubs, organizations, departments, and offices at Champlain. Many offer free food, merch, education, and more! Take time to meet your new classmates and ask questions of upper-year students. Staying connected is a great way to make the most of your Champlain experience!

I'd like to share with incoming students that it's not all as scary as it seems. With a few friends, you can make anywhere a home. These four years are so full of opportunities, so don't pass any up!

Olivia Vitittow // Professional Writing // Louisville, KY