MAGIC 2020 Goes Virtual

July 13, 2020

Members of Michigan State University’s incoming Fall 2020 first-year class will converge on campus Wednesday, July 15 – at least virtually.  

College is a new experience, and even the most successful students may underestimate the challenges they may face as they transition from high school to Michigan State University. Through Maximizing Academic Growth in College (MAGIC), new MSU students gain information, assistance and questions answered from staff and student peer assistants, and opportunities to make connections with others in their class, making the transition easier and helping them navigate through MSU to have a successful first year.

MAGIC, coordinated by the Office of Cultural & Academic Transitions (OCAT) in the Division of Student Affairs and Services, is traditionally a one-week summer experience that is held in July for admitted incoming MSU students who have completed New Student Orientation (NSO) and prior to the start of classes. MAGIC piques the interest of students and parents because in normal circumstances it offers a brief, live-on college experience – an opportunity for students to test the waters and gain real-life college experience.

However, the pandemic has moved this traditionally, in-person, one-week program, to a virtual MAGIC using ZOOM and D2L platforms. Even with the changes, interest has remained strong this year with 99 students registered – similar to other years that plan for 100 students in each MAGIC session.

Students begin with the end in mind, said Murray Edwards, senior coordinator with OCAT, meaning that they are focused on their end goal – graduation. MAGIC helps them to reach that goal.

The virtual MAGIC program will operate one day a week – Wednesdays – for five weeks, instead of the traditional one-week on campus. Students will meet from 1-3 p.m. and 7-8 p.m., on Wednesdays, July 15 through August 12. During these sessions, students will be introduced to academic, cultural, professional and social success strategies.

Students will gather from 1-3 p.m. on Wednesdays via ZOOM for workshops and presentations and then will break out into groups with OCAT staff and Peer Assistants to discuss the presentation to ensure students understand and comprehend the information. Presentations include:

  • Roadmap to Success
  • Making a Successful Transition to College
  • Living a HEALTHY College Life
  • Creating an Inclusive Living and Learning Environment

Presenters will include Eric Thomas, motivational speaker; Tenille R. Gaines, PhD, LP, with MSU Counseling & Psychiatric Services (CAPS); and Ed Tillett, career consultant with the Career Services Network (CSN) to provide information about how CSN can help them, introduce students to Handshake and help them to register and connect to resources.

In the evenings, from 7-8 p.m., students will gather in small groups with Peer Assistants to discuss the daily topic. They will also complete a daily reflection worksheet to gather their thoughts about what they gleaned from the presentation and how they can use the information for their own success. They will also record action steps they can take.

While students do gain tools to help them be successful at MSU, fun is also part of MAGIC and the final day of the program is set aside for recognition and to hold a virtual party and social drop in with virtual rooms where students can play games, dance and showcase their talent.

The delivery may have changed, but MAGIC goals have not waivered. Goals for MAGIC are:

  • Expose students to college success strategies.
  • Expose students to valuable campus resources.
  • Reduce the level of students’ anxieties.

To build on lessons learned during MAGIC 2020, monthly programming will be offered during the academic year focused on academic support, social support, leadership development, cultural enrichment, community service, financial literacy and career exploration, continuing to expose students to opportunities and people to support their success at MSU.

“We are here to help students find their way to be successful,” Edwards said. In addition, Student Peer Assistants will stay connected with MAGIC participants throughout Fall Semester.

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