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St. Lawrence County colleges prepare to welcome large classes of incoming 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 the 2014-15 school year and students may enjoy more benefits than any that have preceded them.

SUNY Canton expects to welcome 800 freshmen this fall, who 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, Potsdam, on Friday. Returning students will follow them 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 expects its freshmen class to be larger this year, though specific numbers are not yet available, according to Michael P. Griffin, 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 it will have 850 freshmen for the 2014-15 year, a number that 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 state residents, freshmen hail from 15 states, along with Canada, China, Brazil, Mozambique and Singapore.

The class is expected to be one of the most varied 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 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 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 yearlong “living learning experience,” according to Jennifer L. Hansen, professor of philosophy and 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 is a moment that helps them grow up.”

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