The First Year experience (FYE) involves a series of activities that are aimed at developing students holistically, in order to initiate them into a successful academic life. These activities include orientation for first year students, peer mentoring and academic support seminars and workshops.
At orientation, first year students are welcomed to the university and are introduced to the staff, facilities and services that are available for them during their stay and study at the university. The programme combines presentations, talks, campus tours and hands-on activities, all meant to help students familiarize themselves with their new environment, make them feel at home, create a sense of belonging and to prepare them for the study task ahead. The programme runs over 5 days, beginning on a Monday and ending on a Friday during the week that precedes the commencement of classes.
In the mentorship programme, student mentors provide guidance and psycho-social support to first year students. Student mentors are selected from senior students who during their stay at university, have been exemplary in behavior and academic performance, and have also demonstrated good leadership qualities. Each mentor is allocated a group of first year students to nurture throughout the academic year. Mentors are allocated students in the programmes that they themselves belong to or completed. Mentors are expected to discover and understand causes of difficulties experienced by first year students and use this understanding to unlock the mentees’ potential to enable them to succeed.
First year seminars, workshops and presentations focus on academic literacy, study skills, time-management, financial literacy, university policies, student wellness, use of library and information resources and other identified pertinent issues. These are meant to address areas of need. These seminars and/or workshops are offered fortnightly and they are facilitated mostly by UMP staff and student mentors. At times guest speakers are invited to give talks.
The FYE programme gives students the comfort, courage, energy, strength and confidence they require for the academic journey at UMP and beyond.