The Bobcat First! Program seeks to foster a greater sense of well-being, belonging, and self-empowerment among first generation to college students. Through a pre-orientation program, workshops, co-curricular activities, and alumni events, first-year students will build strong connections with one another, faculty, and staff. For parents, programs are offered to build a community of support.
The Bobcat First! Program is based on an opt-in cohort model, where students develop community through social and educational experiences.
The Bobcat First! program includes a week-long pre-orientation program that helps connect first-generation students as they transition into Bates. Participants have the special opportunity to get to know campus before anyone else does. They will experience residential life, workshops on college life, and recreational activities — all while fostering relationships with faculty, staff, and alumni.
The Bobcat First! program is designed as a cohort with approximately 40 first-year students participating. The research shows that first-generation to college students do best when they find a sense of belonging and community on their campus. Our cohort model is structured to provide students opportunities to build connections with each other through a pre-orientation program, workshops, and co-curricular activities.
Bobcat First! workshops are timed to provide additional support based on the needs of students as they move throughout their first year of college. Some examples of workshops include: time management, study skills, academic requirements, internships, and stress for less.
Bobcat First! co-curricular programs serve to support first generation to college students through a variety of programs, activities and learning experiences. Co-curricular programs are an important part of building connections within the cohort and the larger Bates community. Some examples of co-curricular activities include a local cohort trip, a first gen faculty dinner, and a welcome back social.
Starting with the pre-orientation, students are offered opportunities to meet first-gen Bates alumni. These programs expand their connections to the full Bates community, their support network, and allow them time to see and hear from alumni who have encountered and faced the same questions, in the same space. Events include: a pre-orientation panel discussion about how to make the most of the Bates experience, a series of live video panels on topics such as Internships, Social Justice, and a luncheon with panel discussion addressing finding support, how to understand and achieve success, and transitioning to and navigating life beyond Bates.
There are a variety of questions, concerns, and considerations that parents have. We offer programs and events for families to further their understanding of the student experience, the Bates community, and empower families by building a supportive community of faculty, staff, and fellow parents. Events include: panels during pre-orientation about resources and support, and additional opportunities to meet the OIE staff, and talk to fellow families.