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Three upperclassmen smiling as they welcome students in on the main drive; the balloon arch is behind them and framing them from above.

Meredith Welcomes New Students to Campus

By Rocio Antelis and Gaye Hill

Meredith Welcomes New Students to Campus

By Rocio Antelis and Gaye Hill

On August 19, 2023, Meredith College welcomed new students to campus. Alumnae, faculty, staff, and student leaders celebrated the arrival of new students, families, and friends, who were greeted by our traditional rainbow arch and cheering students.

“It’s a super exciting day to have new students on campus. Especially because I moved in during COVID, this is more exciting and back to normal,” said Freya Dahlgren, ’24, a member of the student orientation crew.

The four-day New Student Orientation comprises a host of activities that facilitate new students’ transitions and help them begin to find their place within the Meredith community. This year’s programming expanded to include an opening night bonfire, yoga in McIver Amphitheatre, line dancing, guided meditation, and game night. Students toured Massey House, the President’s residence, participated in the Honor Code Ceremony, met with faculty and student advisors, and much more.

Orientation also includes special programs for students who are coming into Meredith with different life experiences and qualifications, such as a lunch for Early College students and a fast-track schedule for Wings and transfer students.

“[Meredith provides] a robust orientation schedule that combines lots of fun and new activities with our favorite orientation traditions,” said Chrissie Bumgardner, co-director of First Year Experience. “We want students to feel welcome and engaged from the moment they step foot on campus.”

Off to a Strong Start

New students come to Meredith having completed the CliftonStrengths assessment; as part of orientation, they participate in Strengths 101 workshops, during which they explore their natural talents and discover how to apply them for success in college and beyond.

StrongPoints® director Beth Hwang, ’13, said it’s important for students to bring an engaged mindset to orientation.

“Their active presence while learning about these resources enhances their ability to recall the student-specific support mechanisms,” she said.

After Orientation, students can sign up for individual strengths coaching by certified Strengths Coaches. The coaches help students develop new skills, problem-solve using strengths, and gain confidence. Follow-up appointments can be used to track progress and provide ongoing support.

Early Arrivals

Last year, Meredith launched a new pre-orientation program to help students successfully transition to college. The 2023 Summer Bridge Program welcomed more than 80 students, who moved in early on Wednesday, August 16.

International students and fall-season athletes also arrived on campus before Move-In Day. The Office of Alumnae Relations hosted a karaoke and ice cream social on August 17 for all students who moved in early.

Alumnae Support at Orientation – and Beyond

On Saturday of move-in, 50 alumnae volunteers were found on campus throughout the day to welcome new students and their families. In addition to distributing much-needed water and staffing directional stations, alumnae gave each new student a welcome gift.

Beyond orientation, Alumnae Relations provides an array of events and other forms of student support. The office sponsors student events and giveaways throughout the academic year, including during the First Day of Class, Last Day of Class, Ring Week, Cornhuskin’, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Senior Induction Ceremony, and Stunt.

Last year, Alumnae Relations launched a new program, Life After Meredith, sponsoring four sessions for current students that allow them to connect with and learn from a panel of alumnae experts regarding financial planning, interview skills, leveraging their network, and creating a resume. 

“Our office is working to coordinate this year’s series, which will feature two sessions per semester and a dinner at the end of the academic year,” said Hilary Allen, ’01, director of alumnae relations.

About the Incoming Class

Meredith College’s incoming class includes approximately 387 new undergraduate students, including new first-year, transfer, second-degree, or readmitted students. Members of the Class of 2027 come from North Carolina and 18 other states and the countries of Guatemala, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Trinidad & Tobago. In addition, Meredith enrolled more than 110 new graduate and post-baccalaureate program students.

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