A newly structured application process and staff hierarchy are among the recent changes made to first-year and transfer student orientation. Orientation Links serve as leaders for first-year and transfer students during Orientation activities in August and throughout students’ first year at Colgate. Assistant Dean for First and Second-Year Experience and
Community Development Kristen Cothran and Assistant Dean for Administrative Advising Sarah Jones headed the program and its restructuring.
Changes to the hierarchy of the Link program include the introduction of a new Lead Link position for five returning members of Link staff who will meet weekly with Cothran and Jones to prepare for orientation in August.
Lead Link and junior Avery Brook said the changes allow Lead Links to help select new members of Link staff, which was formerly done solely by the deans.
“We are responsible for assisting the orientation administration with the Link selection, staff training, and orientation activities,” Brook said. “We have a team of eight who will help in the selection process of next year’s staff.”
The new application process now requires all applicants for Link Staff, including returning Links, to participate in a group interview process in addition to a written application.
“The group interview is a great opportunity for previous staff members and potential new staff to interact and engage with each other in group activities,” Cothran said.
Previously, returning staff members were separated from the larger pool of applicants and were required to fill out only a written application. Now, those second- and third-year student staff members who are accepted will be offered additional leadership opportunities, assisting Cothran and Jones in training new staff members.
“Returning Links are required to fill out the same application as everyone else and be a part of the group interviews and individual interviews,” Brook said.
According to Cothran, the mandatory group interviews will be helpful in allowing the Lead Links and the Deans to watch how students work and problem solve with one another.
“This provides us with a holistic view of the entire candidate pool and what each person brings to the team,” Cothran said.
Changes to the Link program also include the addition of a spring training component. Previously, the Link Staff had a week of training in August before the start of orientation. Cothran and Jones said they added meetings in the Spring semester after receiving feedback from student staff members that felt there was not enough time during the training week to get to know the other staff members.
The incoming Link Staff will now also assist with Experience Colgate Day, an Office of Admission event held in the Spring which allows admitted students to tour the campus and experience the University.
“Getting to know each member of a team takes time,” Cothran said.
Sophomore Sivi Colberg said she applied to be a Link next year through the new application process because she wants to be a resource to help new students adjust to life at Colgate.
“I felt like I could go to my Link for anything and I would love to make students feel the same way,” Colberg said. “My transition wasn’t the smoothest, so to be able to potentially help other students who feel similarly would be really rewarding.”
The changes being introduced are “designed to raise the bar of Link staff and make sure we are hiring those of the highest caliber,” Brook said.
“We are looking forward to selecting a staff whose goals are to help our first-year and transfer students have a successful transition to Colgate throughout their first year on campus,” Cothran said.