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YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. — The transition to college life can be a big change for young people, which is why Young Harris College hosts incoming freshmen students for its Ready to ROAR events leading up to the start of the fall semester. Two Ready to ROAR sessions were held this past weekend, June 9 and 10.

ROAR stands for Readiness Orientation and Academic Readiness. Young Harris College hosts multiple Ready to ROAR sessions each year leading up to ROAR each August.  

“The First Year Experience (FYE) is designed to build community,” said Jenny Stowers, Coordinator of the FYE. “From the moment incoming students arrive on campus, they make lasting connections with their peers, professors, and FYTT Leaders, who mentor freshman throughout their entire first semester and beyond.”

On Friday and Saturday, Young Harris College welcomed incoming freshmen students and family members to campus. New Mountain Lions enjoyed the all-day events designed to prepare them for college life in the Enchanted Valley of North Georgia. 

Not only did new students and families meet College President Dr. Drew Van Horn, they also met the First Year Transition Team (FYTT). Upper-class students known as FYTT Leaders are dedicated to helping new students find their place in the Enchanted Valley. These students led orientation groups through fun activities that helped everyone get to know each other, as well as get in tune with the Mountain Lion spirit. 

Through this initial step in the College’s ROAR Program, incoming students learn the ins and outs of being a member of the College community before classes even begin. 

Activities like the YHC Game of Life are low-stakes, collaborative ways for students to prepare themselves for the Fall. Engaging with Student Development and Residence Life staff, as well as the chaplain and campus counselor, allows students to learn about the resources available to help them succeed. 

After sharing a causal lunch and snow cones with their new classmates, incoming students met with Faculty Director of First Year Experience, Dr. Ben Van Dyke, who gave an interactive overview of freshman academics and course schedules. Finally, students regrouped with their FYTT Leaders to continue getting acquainted and to learn upper-class secrets to success both inside and outside of the classroom. 

Families had their own schedule, which included sessions with the Business Office and Financial Aid staff, as well as open conversations with current students about making the transition from high school to life at Young Harris College. Families were advised on everything from the academic calendar and tutoring opportunities to Move-in Day strategies and packing lists. Families also enjoyed desserts in the Zell and Shirley Miller Library. 

As the first step in an extended orientation model, Ready to ROAR prepares students and families for the transition into life on the College campus. Once students have toured campus, built connections, and found their resources, they are ready for the intensive four-day ROAR Orientation after Move-in, Welcome Week activities, and Mountain Lion 1000, a course designed for Young Harris College success. 

An essential component of the FYE, Ready to ROAR is required for all new students. The final session will be held on July 15. To register, or to see a calendar of events, visit

About Young Harris College 

Young Harris College is a private baccalaureate and master’s degree-granting institution located in the beautiful mountains of North Georgia. Founded in 1886 and historically affiliated with The United Methodist Church, Young Harris College educates, inspires and empowers students through an education that purposefully integrates the liberal arts and professional studies. The College has four academic divisions: Fine Arts; Humanities; Mathematics, Science and Technology; and Professional Studies. More than 1,400 students are enrolled in its residential and Early College programs. The College is an active member of the NCAA Division II and remains a fierce competitor in the prestigious Peach Belt Conference. For more information, visit