Welcoming AnBryce Scholars
Acclimating to any university, let alone an R1, top 20 school, is daunting. There is new social vocabulary, academic vocabulary, commonly named dorms and buildings, and of course calling dibs on a bunk. First generation scholars have the added worry of not having a parent help explain things ahead of time. Many first generation students also have not visited Notre Dame prior to Freshman Orientation. All of this firmed our commitment to not only offer an AnBryce Orientation, but ensure it in no way competed with traditional Freshman Orientation, with its focus on dorm-centered activities. This not only ensured scholars were free to take full advantage of the excellent activities planned for Welcome Weekend, but also that they were more comfortable interacting with peers, many of whom had previous experiences at Notre Dame.
In past years, this has meant an arrival mid-week before classes start and a rigorous (but super informative) round of visits to key campus locations and meetings with key campus allies. We welcomed families to dinner the first night they arrived and then usually said, "good bye," until Freshman Orientation began.
Beginning in 2020, we committed to not only welcoming freshmen to campus, but also their families. We now have evening tours of campus for our families, with guides fluent in several languages. Tours intentionally focus on locations freshmen will frequent (gyms, the health center, the various places to eat and study). We host a brunch and include Associate Vice Provost Dr. Hugh Page and Director of Financial Aid Mary Nucciarone. We have a panel of staff address most aspects of the first year of school. Parents and those traveling with students can ask questions to better understand the life their students will take on at Notre Dame. Upperclassmen take a prime role in giving advice and helpful hints for which clubs to join and how to make it through early morning classes. We plan trips to the IDEA Center and St Liam's to meet practitioners. We talk about the Learning Resource Center and meet their Writing and Rhetoric professor. We introduce them to the many helpful people and resources at the Hesburgh Library. We also provide student translators for Freshman Orientation parent meetings, so students are free to focus on their own activities. When parents leave, they have a much better understanding of what college will be and the knowledge that there is not just AnBryce staff ready to help their sons and daughters with the expected curve balls.