For the third year, First Year Advising and Exploration has hosted the First Year Scholars Reception to honor students that have 3.5 GPA or better. Approximately, 2,500 students received a 3.5 GPA or better in fall 2015 with 430 students who attended the First Year Scholars Reception. Several speakers spoke words of wisdom, inspiration and encouragement.

DeLaine Priest, associate vice president for Student Development and Enrollment Services, provided the welcome and advised students not to “get comfortable.” Priest revealed her personal experience as a college student that she achieved a high GPA during her first semester and then became complacent concerning her grades. Her grades began to decline as she immersed herself in extracurricular activities and the attitude of “arrival” assailed her. Simply stated, she had become comfortable. She then shared five principles for students to remember as a means of combatting complacency:

  1. Get engaged.
  2. Don’t lose sight of the reason why you’re here: scholarship.
  3. Take advantage of all the resources that UCF offers.
  4. Get outside of your comfort zone.
  5. What will your legacy be at UCF?

Each of these values impressed upon students the need to advance academically, socially and personally during their time at UCF.

Speaker Rita Graham, faculty in Nicholson School of Communication, reminded students that their intellectual development does not begin nor end with a GPA. “You are developing habits of mind that are going to be with you when you leave us… The way you learn is as important as what you learn.”

Student speaker Hayley Lynch, an ambassador with the Burnett Honors College and a National Merit Scholar encouraged students to build upon this first academic semester foundation and leave a legacy.

Everyone enjoyed an Italian dinner as the evening concluded with a performance from the all-female group, Key Harmony.
The First Year Scholars Reception marked the achievements of first year students and urged the students to reach higher heights beyond their first year. FYAE looks forward to continuing the partnership with other offices to offer this event annually to support student success.

Gregory Saunders and Danielle Aming served as coordinators of this event in partnership with several offices: Sophomore and Second Year Center, The Burnett Honors College, and Housing and Residence Life.