New Student Experience Course – Valencia College, Orlando, Florida

At Valencia College in Orlando, Florida all incoming students are required to take the New Student Experience Course (NSE). This credit-earning course to helps students identify, cultivate, and formulate their personal and educational purpose. Students identify interests, strength, and values then link them directly to their educational and career goals. The course is a unique approach to orientation, but so much more. New students also learn skills in how to be successful, how to build connections with faculty and peers, and how to seek out support they may need during their time at the community college. The course is based on six key outcomes measures called the six Ps;

  • Purpose: Students will create a personal purpose statement that outlines and articulates their values, goals, interest, and strengths in relation to their educational and career aspirations.
  • Plan: Students will design an education plan that include goals for learning and a financial plan.
  • Personal Connection: Students will demonstrate effective communication skills with diverse groups.
  • Pathways: Students will choose an academic program aligned with their educational/career goals, interest and strengths, and values.
  • Preparation: Students will apply college success skills.
  • Place: Students will demonstrate awareness of college support systems.

A key component of the course is career and academic advising that includes the development of their education plan.  The design and implementation of the NSE included the core value that students need to be connected to their academic advisors and have a strong personal connection with them. So, each student in the NSE course is assigned a faculty advisor. These advisors were hired as full time faculty members to fill this role and all participated in a four-week intensive professional development program that included developmental advising, essentials of advising, pedagogy, NSE Course curriculum, and an orientation to Valencia.

Strategic indicators of success include, for example, data on Fall-to-Spring retention, Fall-to-Fall retention, five-year graduation rates, and completion of 15 credits within two years. Additionally, the college measured and found increases in student utilization of tutoring services, increases in student educational planning, and an increase in the number of students who were assigned advisors.

Hear more about the NSE implementation successes and challenges in the webinar and supporting materials shared by Dr. Landon Shephard, Campus Dean of Learning Support at Valencia College.