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New students get head start on college experience at Milligan

morris_abbyMILLIGAN COLLEGE, Tenn. (June 11, 2013) — As she prepared for college, Abby Morris, a 2013 graduate of University School in Johnson City, Tenn., read the brochures and booklets. She talked to her admissions counselor and filled out the proper paperwork.

However, the students, faculty and campus pictured in the pamphlets became real for Morris when she attended Connections, a 24-hour new student orientation event at Milligan College.

This biannual orientation — held in April and again this weekend, June 14-15 — is designed to give students an opportunity to tour the campus, meet professors and learn about life at Milligan. During Connections, students get their Milligan ID cards, meet their mentors and roommates, select courses, and get their questions answered before classes begin in August.

“The entire Connections experience was so good for me,” Morris said. “I got to know the faculty and other incoming students. I spent the night in the dorm I’ll live in and even stayed with the current Milligan students who will be my suitemates. College doesn’t seem so daunting now.”

Parents also are included in the orientation weekend. There is a parent question-and-answer session and an opportunity to gather important financial aid information. In addition to touring the campus with their students, parents are invited to a brunch where they meet members of the college’s parent council and Milligan President Bill Greer.

“The program’s purpose is to connect students and parents to Milligan,” said Tracy Brinn, Milligan’s director of enrollment management.

Approximately 80 students and their families are expected to attend Connections this weekend. In addition, Milligan will host a half-day Connections orientation for approximately 25 non-traditional transfer students on Tuesday, June 18, from 12:30 to 5 p.m.

“Transfer students have different needs, different questions,” Brinn said. “We tailored this orientation to meet their expectations and make the most of their time on campus.”

First Year Experience

The Connections events are part of a broader emphasis on ensuring a successful and satisfying first year of college for Milligan students. Milligan calls this the “First Year Experience” program.

“The First Year Experience is designed to integrate new students into Milligan’s culture,” said Tony Jones, director of student success and disability services. “A combination of curricular and co-curricular experiences led by faculty, staff and peer mentors provide new students with opportunities to connect to the campus, to each other and to the rich heritage of Milligan College.”

In addition to formal events such as Connections, Welcome Week and a mentoring program, the First Year Experience website (www.milligan.edu/fye) provides a one-stop destination for transition tips for students and parents, a Facebook page for each entering class, advice for selecting a major and many other valuable sources of information.

This effort to keep students connected to the Milligan community continues long after their first year. The First Year Experience is a starting point for ongoing student resources and services, including “Buffalo for Life: A Senior Experience” during their senior year.

Statistics indicate that these efforts are working well. Last fall, the college announced one of its highest retention rates in the past several years, with 80 percent freshman-to-sophomore and 90 percent overall.

“It’s exciting to welcome a new class of students each year,” Jones said. “But it’s just as important for us to help our current students stay connected and succeed—from Connections all the way to Commencement.”

Milligan still is accepting applications for the fall semester, and scholarships and financial aid are available, as well. To learn more about Milligan, visit www.milligan.edu.


MILLIGAN UNIVERSITY is a Christian liberal arts university in Northeast Tennessee whose vision is to change lives and shape culture through a commitment to servant leadership. The university offers more than 100 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in a variety of fields, along with graduate and adult degree completion programs.  To learn more about Milligan University, visit www.milligan.edu or call 800-262-8337.

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