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First Year Transition & Support

Embarking on your college career is an exciting step. Our First Year Team works closely with you before and during your first year to help you identify support, get connected and settle in at McDaniel. The First Stop Office is the hub of this on-going support. First Stop is responsible for overseeing orientation programs, peer leader support programs, and additional first year programming in support of the McDaniel Commitment. And of course, they are available to help you navigate your first year. If you're not sure where to start, they are your first stop.

Students doing team-building with First Stop.

The First Stop Office: Our Center for the First Year Experience

The First Stop Office is a central point, “home base," of support, connection, and welcome for all new first-year and transfer students at McDaniel College.

The goal of First Stop is to connect students, in a “one stop” approach, to people, places and programs. New students are supported in their development within the offering of orientation, first year and transfer seminars, the Peer Mentor program, and overall programming and support for academic and social engagement in the college community.

The First Stop aims to build a strong foundational base for new students and support their development into a lifelong path of learning and success at McDaniel and beyond.

The First Stop Crew

It's important to get the insider scoop from... well, the insiders. It's why First Stop has developed the First Stop Crew, a group of upperclass students who are available to meet one-on-one with first year students. They'll help you be successful and assure you that all the things you're experiencing are normal parts of the transition to college. They are also well-trained on resources across campus and will connect you to additional support if you need it.

Staircase inside of Decker Center with tartan steps.

Fall 2020 New Student Orientation Taking Your First Steps on The Hill

We are excited to welcome you for the Fall 2020 semester! August Orientation 2020 will offer a variety of mandatory and optional events, both on-campus and online.

Students should have their mask with them at all times during Orientation, and should be prepared to wear it when indoors, and when outdoors if 6-feet distance cannot be maintained. Students should be prepared to adhere to written and verbal social distancing guidelines during all activities.

Student Engagement Peers tabling for Office of Student Engagement

Involvement Fair September 2, 2020

Join us for the Involvement Fair! Kick off the new academic year at McDaniel's annual Involvement Fair. Join us for an outdoor picnic, meet student leaders and learn about ways to get involve on campus. There's always something to do on the Hill with the more than 100 student organizations, including Greek life and intramural sports. If you don't see the organization you are looking for, contact the Office of Student Engagement to find out how you can start it yourself!

Ready to Roll First Year Programming We're With You Each Step

Students participating in team activity at McDaniel Local event.

Your First Steps on the Hill McDaniel Local The McDaniel Commitment

For most new students, the McDaniel Local pre-orientation program is your first immersion into the college community. You'll participate in a life changing opportunity to connect with classmates, faculty and staff, visit the downtown community, and kick start your academic journey. 

Professor lecturing class outdoors.

An Introduction to Academics First Year Seminar Connect With a Faculty Member

An important part of the first-year experience at McDaniel is the First Year Seminar course. As part of the First Year Program at McDaniel, all first-year students take one First Year Seminar course during their first semester at McDaniel College. First Year Seminars are innovative topical and thematic courses on a range of subjects suitable for first-year students that provide an introduction to the liberal arts and an academic transition to college. 

The Impact of First Year Programming

The Student Outreach Network

We understand that students may not always know how to ask for help but are demonstrating need through their behavior. The Student Outreach Network (SON) was officially implemented in early February 2007 to help students who might need it but don't know how to ask. Each week the SON group gathers to discuss students who are demonstrating various signs of “at-risk” behavior. As each student is discussed, members of the group provide up-to-date knowledge which includes, but is not limited to, academic performance, out-of-classroom involvement, disciplinary issues, and information gathered from faculty, coaches, family and friends. With key players at the table, we develop an appropriate plan of action to help provide comprehensive support. From week to week, staff and faculty members support the student by implementing this plan of action.

Grad students in classroom.

Connect With Us

Erin Benevento

Phone: 410-857-2790

Office: 2nd Floor


Hoover Library

2 College Hill

Westminster, MD 21157