New TCL program helps students have a successful college career

Cathy Goodwin, TCL librarian, gives students an overview of the Beaufort Mather Campus library. Rick Ernest (behind Cathy), Online Course Coordinator in the IT department and “Blackboard guru,” was also on hand for the tour.

It’s a recent Thursday morning on the Beaufort campus of the Technical College of the Lowcountry. About a dozen newly enrolled students, some with parents in tow, have gathered in the school’s auditorium to learn more about TCL’s many programs and services.

The new students are given a brief overview before embarking on a campus tour and a more in-depth look at the school’s resources.

It’s all part of a new initiative the college launched this summer to help students have not only a successful start at TCL but a successful college career overall.

While the program is new, it does not replace the traditional orientation process, said Director of Recruitment and Admissions Ali Cadmus.

“Over the past year, we’ve seen some changes to our student orientations. Some of this was due to going remote with COVID, but most of it has to do with TCL’s Pathways to the Future grant,” she said.

Students used to complete new student orientation at the end of the enrollment process, she explained. Now they complete an online orientation as one of their first steps in the enrollment process and then attend a Student Success Event after they have registered for classes. 

The online orientation introduces students to TCL and walks them through the enrollment process, whereas Student Success Events introduce students to the many resources that are available to them on campus while a student at TCL. 

“Both are part of the orientation process and they complement one another,” she said.

In addition to learning about campus resources, students can take care of things like parking passes and IDs while attending a session, Cadmus said.

Some students like Brian Bonola took the opportunity to iron out some final details with his registration.

Bonola, who recently served as a Service Specialist in the United States Marine Corp, said he thought the program was “very informative.”

“And you get to meet people that you might be taking classes with later on,” he said. “It’s always good to make connections.”

To participate, newly enrolled and registered students simply sign up for a session. Morning and afternoon sessions are held every Thursday at TCL’s Mather and New River campuses.

During Bonola’s session, hot topics included TCL’s First Day Complete, a new textbook rental program that’s affordable and works to equip students with all their textbooks and class materials on the first day of school.

Other services such as tutoring and writing assistance were also discussed during the session.

“We can’t emphasize enough, if you need assistance, please come and tell us,” Jody Cummins told the crowd gathered inside the tutoring center.

Cummins, who is TCL’s Associate Director for Tutoring Services, encouraged students to take full advantage of the many services and hands-on help her department offers.

Associate Director for Tutoring Services Jody Cummins welcomes students to the tutoring center.

“Just let us know what you need,” she said. “We are very happy to help you and want you to be the best college students you can be.”

Bonola, who is planning to study Industrial Electronics this fall at TCL, said he appreciated Cummins’ message that students are “not alone” on their path to success.

“There’s always support …you just have to look for it,” he said.

Carla Anderson, who was in the same session as Bonola, also found the Student Success Event to be helpful. A certified nursing assistant, Anderson is now planning to pursue her RN at TCL.

“They had a lot of great information,” she said. “Especially the tutoring. (Cummins) emphasized a lot that if you don’t understand something, come back and they will help you.”

Learn More

For more information on the services TCL offers services, including tutoring, www.tcl.edu/student-services. For more information or to sign up for a Student Success Event, visit www.tcl.edu/event/student-success-events-2.