In the fall of 1982, Sandra Brazil (Faculty) arrived on campus carrying one suitcase. She had driven from the West Coast to the East Coast to earn her degree in English Education. She recalls how registering for classes used to be an all-day event.
Students would run back and forth between classrooms selecting cards and filling out forms. “You would go to a table and pick up a card for each class that you were taking,” Brazil said. “You had to have strategies to pick out cards. If the class was closed, you had to figure out an alternative that would fit with your schedule.”
Fast forward to 2017, and the registration process has drastically changed. Now a faculty member in the English department, Brazil has helped hundreds of students make their class schedules, which can now be completed in less than an hour thanks to the streamlined online registration process. “I get an opportunity to make sure students get the classes they need,” she said. “I want them to have a good introduction to college life and a good beginning of the year.”
Registration is not the only aspect of college life that has changed. Each semester, students arriving on campus are greeted by the friendly faces of Arrival Services, a team of staff and students who walk students through the check-in and registration process. They are given a personalized checklist of things to accomplish their first few days on campus. Student Activities Coordinator Rachel Moses said, “We’ve been making improvements to Arrival Services progressively over the past five years, and we’ve seen great strides. There are more workers, and they’ve received better training on how to carry students from step to step.”
In the Commons, upperclassmen stationed near the mailboxes keep an eye out for students who might have trouble figuring out how to enter the combination to open their mailboxes. In each residence hall, the IT department assists students with connecting to Wi-Fi. And, of course, Arrival Services can be spotted all across campus ready to help parents and students with anything they need—whether unloading vehicles, moving luggage into rooms, or helping them get to their next destination.
Students, and parents especially, appreciate the effort put into making the introduction to college a smooth one. As one parent wrote on Facebook: “I just want to say thank you to everyone at PCC who made the process for a first-time student a smooth transition for my son. The faculty, staff, and students provided helpful guidance and information along the way from check-in to moving into the dorm and registering for classes. We are looking forward to a great school year.”
While the past years have changed the way that PCC integrates new students, one thing is certain: the heart remains the same. Caring faculty, staff, and students take time each semester to help freshmen have a good introduction that will last four years long.