Rollins Explorations: Successfully Launching First Year Students into Rollins' Orbit

June 29, 2010

Rollins Explorations works to engage and integrate first-year students in the Rollins community.

Freshman year — a time that can be fraught with anxiety, loneliness and melancholy or an experience filled with excitement, hopeful anticipation and bold steps forward. Research shows that the type of experience first-year (freshman and transfer) students have depends significantly on their first few weeks of life at a new school. It’s this knowledge that motivated the creation of several Rollins College first-year initiatives that fall under the umbrella of Rollins Explorations.

Engage and integrate: two key phrases that epitomize Rollins Explorations at Rollins College. "We're here to make sure no one gets lost in the crowd," said Director of Explorations Meghan Harte. Harte oversees a variety of programs and resources designed to fully engage first-year students in academic life while assisting them in making a successful transition on campus.

"We know that making connections is what keeps students in college," said Harte. "When students connect with a mentor or faculty member, they’re more likely to ask for help when they need it, more likely to stay here, and more likely to have a positive college experience."

All first-year students participate in the Rollins Conference Course. Click here to read more.  

The Rollins College Conference Builds Community

To facilitate greater connections, all first-year students participate in The Rollins College Conference (RCC). With 30 different seminar classes to choose from, a small group of 15-17 students is teamed with a professor with whom they explore a subject of mutual interest through reading, writing and experiential learning. Launched in 1994, Rollins was one of the first colleges to offer this style of seminar courses and most colleges and universities have followed suit. More...

During the summer, first-year students participate in the summer reading program. Click here to read more.  

Summer Reading Program Promotes Lifelong Learning through Literature

One of the building blocks of the first-year experience is the Summer Reading Program. Created with the purpose of engaging incoming first-year students with topics of leadership and citizenship, a committee made up of faculty and peer mentors annually selects one book for the entire class of first-years to read before the beginning of the fall semester. More...

First-year students travel to Costa Rica as part of the pre-matriculation travel abroad program. Click here to read more.  

First-year Field Experience: A Pre-Freshman Head Start Like No Other

In 2009, Rollins launched a one-of-kind opportunity for a handful of first-year Rollins students to kick-start their freshman year before they even stepped on campus. The first known program of its kind on the national academic landscape, participants in the First Year Field Experience began their college careers in exotic and engaging locations across the globe weeks before the school year officially commenced. More...

First-year students live in learning communities. Click here to read more.  

Living Learning Communities Smooth Transition to College

Another important aspect of Rollins Explorations is the Living Learning Communities (LLC), a campus residence concept designed to increase contact and connection among students. Students may be housed in one of the 17 Living Learning Communities, which means they'll live and study with the same core groups of students from their RCC course. More...

Peer Mentors help first-year students successfully transition to college life. Click here to read more.  

Peer Mentors Provide Personalized Attention

The upfront personalized attention first-year students receive continues on through the peer mentor program. Peer mentors receive more than 75 hours of training in the summer and then additional training throughout the academic year. Peer mentors participate in weekly classes and discussions that provide accountability, leadership and citizenship training and focus on the development of personal and social responsibility. More...

Professor Gabriel Barrenche lives on campus with his wife and dog as part of the faculty in residence program. Click here to read more.  

Faculty in Residence Builds Community at Rollins

As part of Rollins' Living Learning Community  program, the College built its first-ever faculty apartment during the renovation of Ward Hall in summer 2008. Now in its third year, few could have predicted the impact its inhabitants would have on the student body. More...

Students volunteer throughout the Central Florida community as a part of SPARC day of service. Click here to read more.  

Fall Orientation Engages First-year Students

To get first-year students engaged quickly, a jam-packed Fall Orientation Weekend keeps students busy—on campus and off—from the moment they arrive on Thursday right up until the first class begins on Monday morning. One of the highlights during orientation is when all first-year students participate in a day of service, education, and action in the Central Florida community. More...


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