Getting to Know Simmons: Key Takeaways from the "What to Expect this Fall!" Panel
This panel discussed what incoming first-year students can expect this summer and during their first semester at Simmons. The hosts included:
- Dr. Renique Kersh, Vice President for Student Affairs
- Dr. Alicia LaPolla, Assistant Dean for First-Year Programs
- Dr. Kelly Hager, Interim Dean of Undergraduate Education
1. Simmons thinks of families as partners
At Simmons, we prioritize the health and safety of our students. We strive to create an uplifting supportive environment for students starting the second they join the Simmons community. Students and their families immediately have a way to connect with the school through the summer Orientation events and will be receiving communications from Simmons starting in mid-July.
During the move-in days on August 23 and 24, students and their families are invited to participate in half-day programs. These events are open to commuter students. There will also be a parent and family weekend in October.
2. Simmons is a great place to develop community
Even before students set foot on campus for the first time, they feel like they are a part of the Simmons community. The events held over the summer will introduce students to their peers and the school's various social media platforms will keep you up-to-date on what is happening around campus.
Once first-year students are at Simmons, they will meet people in person during Orientation. Resident Assistants (RA's) and Orientation Leaders (OL's) are eager to help you connect with both your community and fellow first-year students.
Simmons is also a part of the Colleges of the Fenway (COF), a consortium of five schools in the Fenway area. These colleges include Simmons University, Emmanuel College, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Wentworth Institute of Technology, and the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS).
COF hosts an annual block party where students from different schools are able to get to know other college students in the area. Simmons students are also able to cross-register for courses at any of the other COF schools.
3. Orientation will be a great way to get to know fellow students, the Simmons campus, and the city of Boston
This year, Orientation will be a culmination of five touchpoints. Some events over the summer will be virtual, but Simmons is excited to have students on campus again in the fall!
- Pre-Orientation, launching on June 1, is a series of virtual modules designed to help students and families get ready for Simmons. Here, you will be able to register for virtual events.
- Advising Month in June we will have live, virtual events with academic liaison organizations. Students will also be hearing from their first-year PLAN advisor so they can meet and plan a schedule for the fall 2021 semester.
- Shark Camps are optional, virtual, one-day programs that will help students acclimate to Simmons:
- Strategies for Success in the First Year: June 30, July 12, & July 20
- Leadership & Making Your Mark: July 13 & July 21
- Multicultural Communities: dates TBD
- First Bite, held from August 25-31, will be the traditional, on-the-ground fall Orientation. It's a week of fun activities designed for students to get to know their community and get used to student life.
- Welcome Days happen at the end of Orientation and the beginning of the academic year. They are designed for students to engage with each other, the campus, and Boston. Simmons' signature events include Convocation, a candle lighting ceremony, and the Connections Carnival.
4. The academic campus has a variety of student study spaces for you to enjoy
There are many places all over campus where students can go to be productive, do homework, hang out with friends, and form communities. The Management & Academic Building has a new student center with large windows and vibrant colors that was designed with students in mind.
Students also spend time at the two of the dining areas on the academic campus — Common Grounds Café and the Fens. All of these spaces (and more!) will be usable while still following all health and safety guidelines.
5. PLAN & what to expect from your fall 2021 schedule
PLAN (Purpose, Leadership, and ActioN) is Simmons' general education program that gives students interdisciplinary experience; community-based learning; and curriculum centered on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Every student will follow the PLAN requirements regardless of their major.
During the summer, every first-year student will meet with their PLAN advisor to set a schedule for this upcoming semester. Students will be taking five courses, including the "Boston Course," an introduction to college writing and the city of Boston, and "Simmons 101," an introduction course that helps ease students' transition to college.
Simmons is excited that all classes will be held in-person! Students will be able to engage with students and faculty members in a smaller space, and classrooms have been accomodated in order to follow all health and safety guidelines. Masks will still be required and Simmons asks for all students to be fully vaccinated before the start of the academic year.