The mission of Connections is to assist incoming diverse WPI students with successfully navigating through the college transition while developing a community of leaders and scholars compelled to advocate for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB), promote holistic development, and provide peer support.
Connections incorporates social engagement, academic success, and identity development opportunities that will ease the transition into the WPI community, encourage inclusive excellence, promote cultural competency, and provide academically focused support and resources.
The Connections Pre-Orientation Program is primarily geared towards undergraduate students who are underrepresented in STEM or at WPI and identify as a first-generation college student; Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC); African American, Latino/a American, Asian American, Native American (ALANA); and/or Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, Aromantic, Agender and Pansexual (LGBTQIAP+).
Connections was first established in 1993, and continues to be the roadmap to college success at WPI. The program is partially funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Teradyne, Inc.
The Connections Pre-Orientation is a week-long residential bridge program at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) held in August prior to New Student Orientation (NSO) and the Insight Program. Connections helps entering eligible new and first-year students make a smooth transition from high school to college.
Pre-Orientation Workshop Sessions include, but are not limited to:
Academic Success | Time Management | Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) | Identity Development | Personal Development | Leadership Development | Professional Development | Cultural Awareness and Diversity Training | Career Exploration and Preparation | Wellness and Self-Care | Field Trips and Social Activities
The Connections Academic Immersion Experience allows new students to have a jump start and introduction to the WPI course structure (in a low stakes environment), an opportunity to meet WPI faculty, and form relationships with peers while learning college study skills and helpful methods for navigating through WPI. Participants who choose to take a summer course in E-Term will also have the opportunity to attend workshops in the Fall semester (A-Term and B-Term) which build upon the experiences and skillsets students bring to WPI and cover additional topics such as faculty and staff mentoring, major exploration, and guidance on course selection. This will be a time to reconnect with your Connections peers and a place to ask those questions you might have.
The Connections Pre-Orientation Program is offered at no cost to pre-registered eligible first-year WPI students.
Program Learning Outcomes:
Connections Learning Outcomes
To positively impact students' awareness and confidence in their own academic, social, and cultural preparedness for college.
To provide opportunities for students to experience and understand the expectations of college life and rigor of WPI academics.
To build a sense of belonging and confidence in each students' ability find their home within the WPI community.
Academic Success Workshops
Develop relationships with WPI faculty members prior to the start of the academic year.
Develop understanding of the academic expectations of WPI coursework and differences from high school coursework.
Develop confidence in skills and abilities to meet and exceed the challenges of college academics at WPI.
Campus Resource Workshops
Develop relationships with WPI staff members prior to the start of the academic year.
Identify and locate the appropriate campus resources, how to access them, and understand when support is needed.
Understanding the importance of asking for help and fully utilizing campus resources available for all students.
Identity Development Workshops
Develop a sense of self and self-awareness entering this college experience.
Understand how social identities manifest within the WPI experience and appreciate the lived experiences of their diverse peers.
Create a culture of respect, care, support, and belonging with mentors and peers.
Community Building Workshops
Build and develop connections with peers, mentors, alumni, faculty, staff, and administrators.
Understand the importance of community and looking out for their peers and colleagues.
Develop and strengthen network of support with peers and professionals to be enhanced throughout WPI experience.
Wraparound Support Services Available
Participants in Connections have access to an extensive network of support services and campus resources. Students are encouraged to use any and all campus resources available to WPI students. Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Multicultural Education (ODIME) provides particular focus on offering the following resources:
- Academic Advising and Coaching with feedback on academic performance after each term
- Peer Tutoring and Academic Support
- Academic Success Workshops and Seminars
- Career Development Advising and Coaching
- Career Development Workshops and Seminars
- Student Support and Networking Groups
- Affinity Student Organizations
- Affinity Month Programming