Don’t Be SOL, Apply In Time

by Rachel Williams
Staff Writer

An essential part of a student’s first year of college is orientation weekend. At Transylvania, an key part of orientation is the Student Orientation Leader program. The SOL program includes the orientation weekend agenda as well as the University 1111 program throughout first semester.

“The first week is about making connections. The SOL is there to help make connections on campus and help understand what being a part of the Transy community means,” Dean Michael Covert said.

Training for SOLs begins the week before orientation. This training is designed to prepare the SOLs to work with their mentor in teaching 1111 in the fall, but it is also supposed to be fun.

“My favorite parts of being an SOL were training week and orientation weekend,” said Daniel Porter, who was an SOL during the fall of 2008.

Covert, who has been working with the SOL program for about eight years, said a few minor changes may be made to last fall’s program.

“We have focus group feedback sessions with the SOLs and mentors from last fall and based on the feedback we get, we make minor changes. The 1111 program is an evolution. Every year we make minor changes,” Covert said.

Even as the program changes, the type of students who become SOLs are variable.

“There is no cookie cutter form for SOLs. We get students with a variety of different backgrounds, personalities and academic interests,” Covert said.

However, as there are specific expectations of an SOL, the selection committee does have certain qualities that they look for in potential SOLs.

“We are looking for someone who can be a role model both academically and socially,” Covert said, “Someone who is interested in helping others learn and grow and willing to learn and grow themselves. We also want students who are positive about their Transy experience and able to help other students see the positives of the university.”

First-year Tiffany Buchanan believes previous high school experience will help her to be an effective SOL next fall.

“In high school we had PLD 101 which was designed to help incoming freshman, kind of like 1111. I did it my junior and senior years. I thought being an SOL would be kind of like that,” Buchanan said.

The selection process for SOLs is a collaborative effort between the dean of students and the dean of the college offices.

“The committee of faculty and staff reads the applications and invites students back for an interview,” Covert said.

SOLs are required to reserve third hour on Tuesdays and Thursdays for University 1111 meetings. This may cause problems for some students.

“I am still debating on doing it next year. I really want to; I just have to see if I can work it into my class schedule,” Porter said.

In spite of the time commitment, Covert said, “We want students to have fun, always want to enjoy it.”

Student Orientation Leader applications and a letter of recommendation must be e-mailed to Dean Covert by Tuesday Feb. 17 at 9 a.m.

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