Muskingum University Offers Transition Program For Incoming Students

By
Bethany Venable

Dateline
Updated Mon, Jul 16, 2012 2:41 pm

One university in Southeast Ohio is offering incoming students with learning disabilities or ADHD the opportunity to have a trial run at their college experience.

Muskingum University is hosting the two-week First Step Program for students to get a handle on skills before the year starts.
 
Eileen Henry is the executive director of the university's PLUS Program, which oversees the First Step program.
 
Henry says although the college has been offering the transition program for more than 15 years, this year, they've added a new component: student-produced video diaries.
 
"Our students will actually have a camera and be making a video diary that tells of their experience as they move on to the new adventure of college," said Henry. "In doing so, this will help them to analyze and adjust through the experience of being a college student in that they'll have to kind of shoot some film and then back up and think 'what are my priorities, what do I want to say about myself, how am I making this experience and this transition and how do I want to present it to other people?' "
 
Tutors work one-on-one with students to go over strategies for things like note-taking, organization and interacting with faculty.  Students also take three classes focusing on the video diary, criminal justice and writing.  
 
Henry says the individualized attention is important because each student has different needs as they approach their college years.  Tutors can work from 1,500 different strategies to help incoming students feel comfortable with different skills.
 
"Students who have learning differences often really benefit from going through the process a few times to understand what's coming up.  Either they might have some slower processing speeds, or they might have to have things made more explicit to them, they might be so impulsive that they have to be reminded to slow down a little bit, and so this give them an opportunity to get that adjustment period in before college actually starts so that when they get here, they're very ready," said Henry.
 
This year, 12 students are enrolled in the First Step program.
 
In addition to the academic elements, the participants socialize during extra activities such as swimming, community tours and trips to the local mall.
 
The First Step program started Sunday and runs through July 28, just about a month before the fall semester begins at Muskingum.
 
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