While hundreds of freshmen were receiving acorns at convocation, first-year Cora Abdoo was far from being Under the Oaks.

"I still have the acorn," Abdoo said, "but instead of saying 'I sat here with a bunch of people,' I have a more unique story."

Abdoo's convocation took place on a rural field in Wyoming during the first part of her Gap Semester program.

"Even though it was less traditional and less formal," she said, "I think that it was still helpful and good."

Abdoo believes her trip across the country and to Costa Rica readied her for the college atmosphere.

"It made me so much more prepared to go here. I had such an easy time adjusting," Abdoo said.

Although, some students had a more difficult time adjusting. Transfer student Rebecca Porter is one example.

"I was like, I am not ready for this," said Porter. "Convocation was on a Sunday, [and] classes started on Tuesday. It was really stressful."

Elon's Director of New Student & Transition Programs, Katie Burr (also known as Katie Burr Hight), said that Elon offers a mentorship program and a spring organization fair to help students who aren't starting in the fall.

The university also provides book guides to help ease the transition process. But according to Vice President of Admissions and Financial Planning, Greg Zaiser, it's still difficult to provide gap and transfer students with the same experience as traditional students.

"How do you recreate for 50 to 100 students what you do for 1,500?" Zaiser said. "Quite honestly, we're working on it and I think we get better each year."

"With the addition of students and feedback, the program is making changes," he added.


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