How Champ 101 Could Be More Applicable to Students


Champ 101 is Champlain’s newest curriculum required for first-year and transfer students. According to the school’s New Student Experience page, the goal is to “Help you find your footing as you enter college life.” The goal is admirable, as adjusting to college can cause panic-inducing levels of stress for many students. However, Champ 101 fails in many ways to execute this goal. 

The biggest issue Champ 101 faces is a lack of attendance, and as it is considered a workshop rather than a class, it offers zero credits. A student who has hours of homework in credit-earning classes will likely not want to spend two and a half hours a week for ten weeks learning how to make friends and manage homesickness. Many instructors and student administrators that run the workshops are left trying to convince students to attend by offering prizes and snacks. Ask any student what the consequences of not showing up are, and they most likely won’t know. When I asked my instructor about the consequences, she told our class that they will (it is unclear who “they” are) look at your attendance if you are struggling later on. What happens if you are struggling, and you did not go to Champ 101? Even she wasn’t sure.

When students do attend the course, they find themselves doing simple games and activities that leave them asking “What is the point of this?” As much as I enjoy building friendships and “bettering my understanding of myself,” the teamwork games and personality questionnaires are simple and typically unhelpful. Many students feel like they are not being treated like adults. It does not feel like a college experience.

The workshop could be a helpful and fun experience that could benefit its students if they actually went. The best way to ensure attendance is to give credit for the class; the grade should be entirely attendance based, so it is a pass/fail course. The workshop also has too many sessions. By November, I no longer need to be introduced to Champlain College. Champ 101 should be twice a week for the first four or five weeks of school. This means cutting out the fluff that is being taught to fill time. Eight sessions discussing the fundamentals of being a successful college student at Champlain College that can have an introduction and final celebration session, if it feels necessary. If the course needs to be the entire ten weeks, it should focus more on preparing students for what they can expect in their upcoming semesters, rather than spend multiple sessions reviewing how to register for classes.

When speaking to my peers and upperclassmen, these are the eight subjects they either liked during Champ 101 or they wished they had known their first semester.

  • Advice from upperclassmen—a question/answer discussion with an older student about what they wish they had known their first year.
  • Navigating Champlain’s platforms—Canvas, Self Service, The Champlain App
  • Learning your resources—CPS, The Library, The Health Center
  • Using Transit and the Burlington bus system 
  • Touring downtown Burlington
  • Understanding the first year experience and culture shock
  • Establishing relationships and setting boundaries
  • Work/life balance and managing stress

Champ 101 was created so Champlain College could advertise a course in adjusting to college, but it has yet to ask students what they need or want when they are actually adjusting. It needs to be reconstructed and properly planned before they can continue to advertise to prospective students.