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UW Introduces New Student Onboarding Program

Laramie New students entering the University of Wyoming next fall will “saddle up” for an exciting college experience.

In an effort to instill a sense of community and belonging right from the start, UW will unveil the Saddle Up program. The week-long list will provide incoming students with a realistic preview of university life, with an emphasis on increasing student success rates.

What is that?

August 14-19, 2022, Saddle Up will give students a look at the academic semester experience, including class participation, homework, fitness and wellness time, college contact time, study time and core skills sessions.

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This programme, which is mandatory for incoming students, will replace previous incoming student activities such as Orientation or Cowboy Connect. Participation in this experience will earn students one UW credit hour.

Who will participate?

The program is designed for first-year students (beginners or transferees) at UW. It will begin with a new student transition event in the residence halls on Sunday 14th August, followed by a welcome dinner and start of the program.

All attendees will be assigned to small groups of eight students, known as “Poke Packs,” each with a current student serving as a mentor and coach.

Who will lead the event?

Existing UW students will provide mentorship and coaching throughout the week. Poke Pack leaders will provide incoming students with advice on academic preparation, including note-taking, time management, course loads, test preparation skills, and exploration of UW’s academic and student support services and experiential learning opportunities.

What about transfer students?

Hosted Friday and Saturday, August 19-20, the elective transfer program will focus on introducing new incoming transfer students to UW’s resources. Transfer students on the Laramie campus are invited to attend Friday activities for first-year students, but will have programs specifically tailored to their needs.

Transfer students on the UW-Casper campus will have a program tailored to their needs, including online programs to access special modules for familiarization with UW resources.

What will this accomplish?

Findings from peer universities with similar programs show that short academic preparation programs, designed to accelerate adjustment to college life, increase retention and academic success by giving students low-risk opportunities to build their resilience and skills for success.

Similar programs at peer institutions resulted in an average of 7-10 percent increase in first- and second-year retention rates; Significant positive effects on graduation rates and grade point averages; Increase students’ confidence and resilience; and reduce achievement gaps.

“This program will be transformative for our upcoming students,” says Ann Alexander, deputy dean of strategic planning and initiatives. “Through Saddle Up, they will connect with fellow students; get to know the faculty and staff of their colleges; have a chance to get used to being in a college classroom and the pace of work at UW; and build their resilience and comfort in this new phase of their lives. We know this program works And we’re really excited to launch it this fall.”

How do I learn more?

Parents, prospective students, and incoming students may contact the University of Washington Student Success and Graduation Center at (307) 766-4858 or saddleup@uwyo.edu. A newly developed Saddle Up website also provides more details.

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