National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version



Honors in Practice 12 (2016), pp 59-76


© Copyright 2016 by the National Collegiate Honors Council


Orienting and welcoming first-year students to campus and to honors programs are often key components of program development. At an institutional level, successful orientation programs can positively affect retention rates from the first to second year. The greater a student’s involvement and integration into the life of the university, the less likely the student is to leave (Tinto). Institutional retention often translates into retention within honors programs as well. The most important benefit of orientation, however, is that students feel welcomed at the university and within the honors program. Not only do they understand the requirements of the program, but they also make friends and begin to envision how they might use their honors program experience to grow as scholars and citizens while also having a bit of fun in the process. In an attempt to achieve all of these goals, the honors program at Minnesota State University, Mankato established a first-year honors student retreat incorporating peer mentors.

The rationale behind the first-year student retreat, the procedures for organizing and facilitating it, and its impact on both first-year students and mentors might inspire other honors programs to implement high-impact practices that facilitate successful student transition into college.