by Rebecca Wagner, Director of External Relations 

Setting students up for success through rich social connection.

This is the heart of the Connections Program, a soon-to-be-launched (September 2024) United College initiative for incoming students.  Connections will unite approximately 25 first-year students from any academic discipline through a shared living and learning environment on the United College campus.

Success comes in part from feeling connected to your environment, to the people and places that comprise your new home.

Many incoming students experienced part of high school in relative isolation during the pandemic and are searching for the type of community that Connections will offer.  The tight-knit community where first-year students live together and learn together can go a long way to easing the transition to university life and a students’ new home away from home.

Connections will help set them up for success.

The 25 students in the Connections Program will take two electives together.  Introduction to Canadian Studies in Fall Term, and The Indigenous Experience in Canada in Winter Term.  Together, these courses offer a deeper understanding of Canada and our place and role within it.

The Canadian Studies course will be taught by United College Principal, Richard Myers.  Dr. Myers has extensive experience teaching in this kind of programming from his days as a professor in New Brunswick; “It really makes a big difference in terms of giving new students a sense of belonging.  You see students forming friendships that take them through their entire degree and beyond.”

Connections students will also live together in the same United College residence and will have the option of participating in group academic activities.  Students will experience treasured United College traditions like toast time and create traditions of their own.  The social bonds and the sense of belonging that develop during first year can guide students through the trials and tribulations of an academic journey and cement life-long connections that carry through the decades.

United College looks forward to welcoming its first cohort of Connections students and supporting them on their exciting adventure ahead.

Article originally published in the University of Waterloo’s “Daily Bulletin” on January 8th, 2024 (here).