Living in Niagara before attending Brock University, Steph Teichgraf may have had an advantage over other students heading to Niagara for school.
She knew where the campus was and benefitted from the bonus of attending school in her home community. Still, Teichgraf had plenty of questions about balancing the academic demands with student life as she embarked on her university career.
She found answers through Smart Start, a one-day orientation session to help students and their families feel reassured about the four years ahead.
“Although I lived in the Niagara community, Smart Start was my first time coming on campus for academics,” Teichgraf said. “The program helped me to see all the ways I could get involved while balancing my academics with all the services that are available to support students.”
Now Teichgraf, who’s going into her fourth year of the Concurrent Education Program, will be showing new students the way as a Smart Start leader this summer.
She’ll give campus and residence tours, leading students and parents to services offered by the University and helping with course registration.
Ultimately, Teichgraf and her fellow Smart Start leaders are helping new students scratch important items of their September to-do lists early, making their first weeks of school a little less stressful.
“I left my Smart Start day feeling very excited,” said Aidan Smyth, a Smart Start leader going into his fifth year of Concurrent Education. “Getting a feel for the campus, meeting some of the faculty and staff, and knowing that I was properly registered for all of my courses made it easier to hit the ground running in September.”
The cost to participate is $45 per student and $15 per guest. This fee covers program materials, refreshments, lunch and parking.
It’s anticipated that more than 2,000 students will participate in the program this summer, bringing with them 2,200 guests.
Those numbers will help Smart Start reach a milestone of having shown 26,000 students and 28,000 parents and guests the proverbial ropes of university life.
Each year, the program is tailored to ensure it covers all the topics important to new students.
“Much like student life itself, the Smart Start program changes from year to year to ensure the information and services we provide are always relevant and essential,” said leader Dylan Magee, a fifth-year visual arts student. “Not only is it a day for incoming first years, it is also an experience for parents and guests to ease the transition from home.”
Leader Paul Taylor, a fourth-year concurrent education student, recommends incoming students take a Smart Start tour, even if they have friends and family already attending Brock.
“Even if you already have a sibling who attends Brock, Smart Start is an easy way to get a head start for September,” he said. “Bring your sibling along, they may learn something new about their school as well.”
Smart Start runs from June 24 to Aug. 9, with Saturday tours available in July.