Incoming freshmen will receive a different initiation to campus beginning this summer when the daylong Paws Preview program is expanded to a weeklong crash course of all things Texas State.
Previously, freshmen would arrive on campus and have three or four “unstructured” days before their Paws Preview session, said Joanne Smith, vice president of Student Affairs. The week before classes will now be reserved for the new Bobcat Preview program to help students get to know each other and the campus.
“The goal of Paws Preview in the past has been to provide ‘just in time’ information for students to be successful,” said Lanita Legan, associate director of Paws Preview. “That is not going to change.”
New students will receive their Bobcat Preview schedule upon arriving at their residence halls under the new structure, Legan said. Students will attend three different sessions over a Tuesday through Thursday period. The sessions will promote the messages of academic success, health, responsibility and school pride, which are pillars of the “We Are Bobcats” campaign. Students will end their week at Strahan Coliseum for Convocation.
“Students are engaged with campus as soon as they get here,” Legan said.
The freshman class will be divided into thirds and put into separate dens, much like the old Paws Preview structure, Legan said.
One session will focus on academic success and last for about half a day, Legan said. The session will include programs about college note taking, an introduction to the library and a tutorial on how to use computer resources.
Students will attend a mental health and campus safety workshops during the health and responsibility session of Bobcat Preview. Both workshops have been added to the program and have never been done before, Legan said.
The third session will be held at Bobcat Stadium and will focus on pride. Activities during this session will include team-building exercises, a spirit rally and games, Legan said. Students will be given the opportunity to run through the same tunnel as the football team. After a morning of activities at the stadium, the freshmen will be given lunch.
The new structure should give students the opportunity to understand what the “We Are Bobcats” messages are really about, Smith said. Students will be shown how the messages can relate to their success on campus.
“(Students in the past said they) wish they would have had a chance to interact with more (incoming) students,” Smith said.
Staying with the same group throughout the week will give the students a chance to make friends, Legan said.
Freshmen will still get to experience a reception held at President Denise Trauth’s house, Boko’s Block Party and evening events at their residence halls, Legan said.
“We hope that students will continue to show that they are more successful because they have had exposure to all of this information and resources before they started class,” Legan said.
Administrators have known Paws Preview helps students succeed since the program began, Legan said.
“We also want students to feel connected to campus,” Legan said.
Fostering a feeling of “belonging and community” is important in order for students to feel connected to campus, Legan said. During the week before classes, freshmen will now have the opportunity to make friends and feel like they belong after “making the big move” from home to the university.
“We’re really excited about moving forward,” Legan said.