September 20, 2022

As the initial euphoria of attending Texas A&M University fades, many new Aggies are surprised to face a challenging transition to college life. Unsure of where to turn as they struggle to navigate course loads, the college environment and life away from home, new students can find themselves sinking mentally, emotionally and physically in a sea of maroon—and quickly can become at-risk of dropping out.

Understanding the challenges new students face, Texas A&M is committed to helping Aggies find their place on campus. Many organizations, programs and groups are dedicated to offering a place for new Aggies to connect. Some focus on nontraditional students, providing resources and a welcoming outreach that is tailored to these new Aggies’ previous experiences. Together, these efforts contribute to Texas A&M’s strong first-year retention rate, which regularly tops 90%.

As the new school year gets underway, learn about four groups that support a wide range of incoming students and help them find the place in Aggieland where they can thrive.

Engineering Support

The First-Generation Engineering Students Mentoring Program (FGEn) annually assists 140-150 freshmen engineering students who are the first in their family to attend college. “The FGEn program helps underclassmen avoid mistakes that come from not having parents’ guidance,” said Melissa Rivas ’23, a biomedical engineering major and FGEn mentor. “College is fantastic but full of complications that new students may not know how to handle. Having a mentor helps them solve those problems more easily.”

Growing ALOT

Established in 1978, MSC Aggie Leaders Of Tomorrow (MSC ALOT) serves approximately 80 freshmen who show promise of becoming exceptional leaders. One of the university’s 23 Freshman Leadership Organizations (FLOs), the group provides members with both a sense of community and enrichment experiences that expand their understanding of leadership and service. 

“As a freshman, I was unsure how I could get involved in a campus the size of Texas A&M, but I was very lucky to stumble upon MSC ALOT,” said Shaina Joshua ’24, the group’s chair. “Here was an organization that allowed me to hit the ground running with programming and developing my leadership skills.”

In partnership with Texas A&M’s Don & Ellie Knauss Veteran Resource & Support Center (VRSC), the campus chapter of the Student Veterans of America (SVA) helps student veterans build their support network to enhance their transition from the military to Aggieland. Approximately 100 new undergraduate student veterans enroll each year, and many rely on SVA to assist in their transition. “Through our organization, new student veterans can connect with those who have been at Texas A&M for several years,” explained SVA President Cory Griswold ’23. “If something is seriously wrong, those veterans are there to support the new student veterans in whatever they’re going through.”

A Community for Top Students

Established in 1990, the Honors Housing Community (HHC) now serves 340 freshmen pursuing a variety of majors each year. This unique community, which is overseen by the LAUNCH office and encompasses two dedicated residence halls, is comprised of high-achieving Aggies, many of whom are President’s Endowed Scholars, National Merit Scholars or eligible for honors programs in various colleges.