Daesy Galeas (back row, second from right) with new friends at the 2018 Early College Experience. Photo credit: Aaron Moushon
“I heard about the Early College Experience during the Andrews University Preview event,” says Daesy Galeas, senior Nursing major at Andrews University. “I had been hearing a lot about how taking courses prior to college could prevent stress during your actual college experience. So, during the Preview, I grabbed an informational pamphlet, and ended up applying for the program the following summer.”
During the Explore Andrews event, Daesy had grown to appreciate the opportunities the Nursing Department offered. However, she had some reservations about arriving on campus in the fall, only to abruptly start classes. “The Early College program sounded like a great way to become accustomed with college life while also knocking out some of my general education requirements,” she explains.
The Early College Experience is a summer program designed for high school juniors and seniors as well as incoming college freshmen. It allows students to gain experience at the college level while also showcasing Andrews University and the surrounding area. The 2022 program will consist of a three-week opportunity to take one three-credit college course and participate in seminars, activities and local travel.
Daesy arrived about a month prior to the start of her first semester at Andrews. Classes were from 9 a.m. to noon. The schedule allowed time for exploration off-campus after class.
The attendees went to Silver Beach in St. Joseph, Mich., the mall in Mishawaka, Ind., and took a day trip to Chicago. They also played laser tag and mini-golf and went bowling.
“We structure our activities in a way that allows students to begin balancing work and play—this helps further reinforce habits necessary for success in college,” says Aaron Moushon, assistant dean for Undergraduate Education and director of Explore Andrews. “Our activities help students become better acquainted with the area and help them make connections to their new home.”
Outside of classes and activities, there also is time for students to reach out to their academic departments for support and guidance. “If your advisor is on vacation or unavailable, you can always talk with someone about classes or your schedule or prepping for school in general. It really helped me to not stress out,” says Daesy. She adds that students received tips on preparing for and organizing their workloads during the semester.
During freshman orientation, Daesy says she felt at ease because she already knew the campus. When fall semester classes began, she wasn’t as anxious about meeting professors or understanding the syllabus for each class. “It was great to improve my social skills and be able to roam around campus and familiarize myself with where everything was beforehand, as opposed to having to rush to figure things out right before fall semester classes began,” says Daesy.
Daesy recommends the Early College Experience to anyone looking for a smooth transition to college life. “Early College was the best decision I could make for myself transition-wise,” says Daesy. “It was a really great introduction to what college would be like.”
Moriah McDonald, University Communication student writer, Andrews University