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Bigger classes, bigger benefits for incoming college freshmen

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CANTON — As the seasons change, so too will populations as new and returning students flood north country campuses and towns for the upcoming academic year.

Most colleges expect a rise in their freshmen classes for 2014-15, students who as a group may enjoy more benefits than any that have preceded them.

SUNY Canton expects to welcome 800 freshmen this fall. They will begin moving in along with returning students Thursday. In total, around 3,500 students will attend the college this year. SUNY Canton plans to expand its international recruitment efforts for 2014-15, as well as partner with community colleges to connect students with its four-year programs, according to SUNY Canton spokesman Gregory E. Kie.

“We are looking forward to a future of significant growth in all aspects of the college, including our enrollment and our ties with the community,” he said.

New freshmen will begin to explore Clarkson University on Friday. Returning students will follow them that Sunday. Clarkson Senior Vice President and Provost Charles E. Thorpe called incoming freshmen the best class yet.

“All indications are that they are academically very well prepared, hard-working, diverse and ready to take on their challenges of university life and learning,” he said.

Clarkson University expects its freshmen class to be larger this year, though specific numbers are not yet available, according to Michael P. Griffin, Clarkson director of news and digital content services.

SUNY Potsdam will welcome freshmen this year on Aug. 28. The rest of the student community will return beginning that Friday.

The college estimates they will have 850 freshmen for 2014-15, a number which will likely rise as more students register during the first week of classes, according to Alexandra M. Jacobs Wilke, media relations manager for SUNY Potsdam.

Along with New York residents, freshmen come from 15 other states, along with Canada, China, Brazil, Mozambique and Singapore.

The class is expected to be one of the most diverse in SUNY Potsdam’s history, with nearly 30 percent reporting they are students of color.

“We are thrilled to be welcoming such a diverse group of students into the Potsdam family,” Mrs. Wilke said.

At St. Lawrence University freshmen are due to arrive on campus next Sunday. All other students will return the following day, according to SLU Director of Media Relations Ryan P. Deuel.

Many freshmen at SLU will participate in first year programs, which connect students, classes and professors together for more holistic learning. Now common, SLU was a pioneer of first year programs back in 1987, when faculty members created a program to give freshmen a year-long “living learning experience,” according to Jennifer L. Hansen, professor of Philosophy & Dean of First Year Programs.

This year SLU plans to work harder through the program to turn all areas of student life into learning experiences.

“Learning doesn’t just happen in classes, it happens in every facet of life in college,” Ms. Hansen said. “Everything thing is a moment that helps them grow up.”

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