Fast track gives freshmen crash course

About 100 incoming freshmen and their parents gathered at the Student Center for Fast Track, last Thursday.

Fast Track is the first step of orientation for first-year students; the remaining steps occur in the fall.

The program is a basic crash-course for freshmen and their parents, giving an overview on everything on campus from general education requirements to financial aid to housing.

April Badon, admissions adviser and host of the event, helped the new students travel around campus, get their student IDs and meet with offices on campus, while their parents stayed back in the Student Center Ballroom for presentations on the EMU way of life.

Departments like financial aid, career services and tutoring had booths for the parents to visit. Badon said the students were off doing what they needed to do while the parents retained the information.

“The kids are caught up in the action, they’re not going to remember learning about tutoring or how to get a job on campus,” Badon said.

Many of the parents were impressed with the Fast Track program and what EMU had to offer this year.

Diane Shipman, mother of an incoming freshman, said they chose EMU because her older sister went here.

Not only was the choice a family matter, but the program also validated her decision, as well as EMU being one of the only schools in the area to have programs that interest her daughter.

“It’s local,” Shipman said. “And the Fast Track program has been very informative, much better than 15 years ago.”

Mary and Jerry Arrasmith are EMU alumni from the Ypsilanti area, with a 17-year-old starting in the fall. They, like many of the parents at Fast Track, first looked at EMU for their child because of its proximity. They said they had chosen EMU before the 0-0-0 percent raise was advertised, making the tuition freeze “just a bonus.”

However, they believed there was “nothing new and exciting,” for alumni. They were very interested in the academic advising portion of the presentation.

“I wish they would have made that the focus,” Jerry said.
Michelle Ciaramella’s daughter is attending EMU with a gymnastics scholarship. She said the information about campus safety was comforting for parents, both in residence housing and through SEEUS, which were mentioned in the event packets.

“It has made me feel a lot better,” she said. “They seem to have a really good system out here.”

The parents weren’t the only ones thinking about safety. Incoming freshman Autum McKeen said one of her reasons for choosing EMU was the layout of campus.

“The campus itself is actually pretty nice and close together which kind of gives me a reassuring feeling if I had to walk by myself,” McKeen said.

Not everyone was so focused on safety, though. There were a few students with other agendas for EMU.

“I’ve taken classes on and off at WCC,” Brad McNett said, “This is where my credits will transfer the most smoothly.”

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