Heart Start Helps Ease Worries of Beginning College Life

 May 15, 2003
Freshman jitters have proven, over the years, to be one of the biggest obstacles facing most college-bound youngsters. Leaving the comfortable surroundings of home, coupled with seeing hundreds of new faces, leaves many new students feeling intimidated. Incoming freshmen at Henderson State University, however, can take advantage of a program designed to lay those fears to rest.

Heart Start, Henderson State’s annual summer orientation program for incoming freshman, is scheduled for the week of June 9 - 13 in Arkadelphia. Students who have already been admitted to Henderson will have the opportunity to pre-register for classes, have student ID’s made, tour the campus, visit with advisors, meet with residence life and financial aid officials.

The name for the orientation session derives from Henderson’s reputation as “The School with a Heart.”

“The main goal is for the students to take care of all their business in the summer and get adjusted to the campus before school begins in the fall,” said Chad Fielding, assistant dean of students and director of Heart Start. “It makes that first week of school a lot less stressful and worrisome, so students can concentrate on meeting new people and making a good adjustment to the college atmosphere.”

Fielding also said that there are at least 15 to 20 incoming freshman each summer who come to Heart Start by themselves, and end up meeting their college roommate for the fall semester. “That always happens,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity to meet and mingle.”

Between 550 and 600 students and their parents are expected to visit Henderson’s campus for one of the five separate daylong sessions. The Heart Start staff of current Henderson students will serve as campus hosts during the week. Many of the staff members have their own recollections of their participation in Heart Start.

“The first impression can make the difference between staying at Henderson and leaving,” said Jennifer Godwin, a master of liberal arts student at Henderson State. “When I came to Heart Start, my group leader was so pumped for Henderson. Her spirit really rubbed off on me and that has stayed with me ever since. The feeling of friendship and fitting in made me feel at home.”

Events are scheduled from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Fielding said he is hopeful that more than 600 students will participate in Heart Start. For more information, contact Fielding at 870-230-5420.



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