Our View: A program full of promise

DKS Editors

The Student Center looks a little less busy this time of the year without hordes of incoming freshmen buzzing in and out as part of the former Placement, Advising and Scheduling System.

Last fall, Kent State decided to revamp its freshman orientation program, starting with the first piece of the puzzle – advising and registration. Rather than bringing students here in the spring, the university formed a new program called Destination Kent State Advising and Registration, putting the 22-year-old PASS program into retirement.

The concept behind the new overnight Destination Kent State Advising and Registration program is simple: Bring the incoming students to campus, where they can eat and sleep while registering for classes and making new friends.

We think the plan has significant merit. It’s hard to form friendships during a daylong PASS event, and it’s even harder to arrive as a freshman without knowing a soul on campus.

But before all the newcomers descend on campus this summer – June 1 through July 17 – the university should double- and triple-check that freshmen will have as smooth a stay as possible. Several academic departments have already said they are reserving seats for freshmen in large lecture courses to avoid blocking freshmen out of classes. The rest of the student body began scheduling classes in March.

We hope more departments follow suit so incoming freshmen do not get slighted before they even set foot on campus. After all, this program will be their first true taste of Kent State. Campus visits during high school don’t count. It’s usually too overwhelming absorbing everything you see to form a clear picture of university life.

Aside from that concern, Destination Kent seems to be a more hip way to introduce students to their future home. Most current students remember those awkward first days during Week of Welcome when they walked around with maps in hand, trying to find Williams Hall but ending up on front campus next to White Hall.

The new program gives incoming freshmen a boost of confidence before they arrive here for good. They can get their bearings and, more importantly, meet future residence hall neighbors – and likely lifelong friends.

Of course, that part of the equation depends on the university giving incoming freshmen ample free time to forge those friendships. Don’t get us wrong: We’re not advocating wild “Animal House”-like parties during the overnight stays, but Kent State shouldn’t try to babysit those students with a plethora of pre-planned activities.

Most students can’t wait to get out of high school. If they’re treated like high school students while they are here in the summer, it might taint their first campus experience. The new program has too much going for it to be ruined by university oversights.

The above editorial is the consensus of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.