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Essential Connections for College Success

At Beacon, we’ve assembled a personalized success team for each student’s First-Year Experience. This gateway program provides you with three professionals who know, interact with, and support you on a daily basis. Through our unique First-Year Experience program, our Transition Counselors, Learning Specialists, and Residence Life Specialists actively engage with and support each new student as you adjust to life and learning at Beacon.

Why Is the First Year Experience Important?

Research shows that the sooner first-year students make positive and lasting connections at a college, the more likely they are to:

  • Persist in their studies.
  • Engage with faculty and fellow students.
  • Experience an active and affirming social life.
  • Seek help when encountering a problem.

For students who learn differently, these early connections are especially key to building their confidence and personal independence.

More Than Student Engagement

Our First-Year Experience engages new students — and their families — in year-long programs and services to support your successful transition to college. Programs throughout the year include:

  • Virtual webinars and Get-to-Know-Beacon activities before coming to campus
  • Five-day, immersive new student orientation with parent orientation
  • First-Year Experience class
  • Ongoing workshops, guest speakers, and special events

The Beacon Difference


Helping to keep you on track in class attendance and work submission.


Executive Functioning

Learning tips and tricks for organizing, managing memory issues, and more!

Academic Advising

Emotional Health

Our Counseling and Wellness team employs a strengths-based approach to help any student with distress.

Health and Wellness

Social Engagement

Providing a full calendar of social activities across campus from residential life to fitness.

Activities and Clubs

Independent Living Skills

Independent Living Skills Providing more than an onsite apartment director, our Resident Specialists are engaged in activities and campus life engagements.


Career Readiness

Adding career readiness activities from the moment you step on campus, our Career Center provides engaging resources to help you succeed.

Career Preparation

Student Life and First-Year Experience Staff

Hanah Diebold

Director of Student Experience


Heather Reed

Assistant Director of First Year Engagement