Finding support, creating a home at BYU

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Brigham Young University’s motto is “Enter to learn, go forth to serve.” More than 8,000 students will begin their freshmen year at BYU in 2023, according to enrollment services. (BYU Photo)

BYU has many resources to help new and returning students adjust to their college schedules and succeed in the face of a variety of challenges.

Phil Rash of Counseling and Psychological Services said that college is often different than students’ expectations.

“It could take a while to have the friend group and college experience that you’ve imagined,” Rash said. “It’s also important to remember that college can be difficult for almost everyone even if they may not show it. There are resources available and people who want to help.”

BYUSA Clubs, the Office of Belonging, the freshman peer mentor program and Y-Serve are all organizations to help students make social connections and feel seen at BYU. Additionally, the Office of First-Year Experience also offers support to students, helping “everyone achieve their potential,” according to its website.

The office offers a variety of online resources, including pages about “How to BYU” and a fully online BYU orientation. Students and parents can find campus events, ways to contact peer mentors and other how-tos for finding housing, campus resources and food and dining options.

Additionally, the University Advisement Center offers help to students throughout their college careers. 

According to the UAC’s website, they “help students discover, dream, design, and deliver on their academic, career, spiritual, and life goals as they transition from high school, through college, and prepare for life once they leave BYU.”

Keith Proctor, associate director of the UAC, said that when advisors meet with students they offer personal advice geared toward the student’s goals and interests. 

“We want to make sure that we kind of bend the course schedule or the experience here at BYU toward helping them grow and develop in meaningful ways,” Proctor said when asked about the best classes for freshmen.

Proctor said that while creating a schedule can be intimidating for first-year students, balance is key.

The UAC offers in-person appointments and online resources to help while exploring courses and making schedules. For a list of university core classes, freshmen can log in to MyMap or peruse the undergraduate class catalog. BYU requires students to take classes from 13 different general education areas. 

As students discover their passions, many classes offered can fulfill both major requirements and general education requirements

To help students explore different careers and majors, the UAC offers resources including academic advisors, exploration specialists, a major-sorting activity and experiential learning opportunities. 

BYU heavily advocates for students to seek out experiential learning opportunities. President Kevin J Worthen, former president of BYU, emphasized experiential learning throughout his tenure as president. 

“We are learning how to unlock our full potential as sons and daughters of Heavenly Parents, and experiential learning is a key part of that,” President Worthen said. 

Students can find opportunities through BYU Careers and Experiential Learning and the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies, which offers study abroad opportunities, internships and university exchanges throughout the year.

While transitions of any kind can be difficult, starting out and returning to school holds unique challenges for students. BYU is prepared to offer support, experience and resources as students from all around the world “enter to learn and go forth to serve.”

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