In the past, the Connections program was available to new students once they arrived at TCU. However, starting this fall it will be a mandatory program, which is not necessarily a positive change for incoming freshmen.
Connections is a program that aims to help freshman students prepare for a successful college career. The nine-week program is facilitated by upper-class students and faculty mentors who lead discussions and offer helpful tips for freshmen.
The freshman Connections program is a positive thing for students and can benefit students who really want to take advantage of the program. But making the program mandatory is treating freshmen like they are still in high school.
A university official said the decision to make the program mandatory was made to help increase freshman retention by assisting students in creating a stronger foundation on campus. Although it sounds like a good idea, forcing student involvement is not the way to go about increasing retention.
For the program to be successful it needs to be full of students who actually want to be attending and learning, not students who are sitting in the back not participating.
When students come to college, it is a time when they can personally discover their strengths and learn how to be responsible without their parents. Requiring students to attend a weekly class without earning credit for it does not breed responsibility.
Sometimes freshman students really need guidance on campus, but holding their hand is probably not the best way to encourage them to adapt to college life.
Connections is awesome for building better leaders, but it should be left as a program for students who actually want to be there.