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What is it like to be a hybrid learning student?

February 11, 2021

Hello – my name is Amy! I am one of Unity College’s Hybrid Learning Ambassadors!
I am a junior at Unity College! By 2022, I hope to complete my bachelor’s degree as a double major in Adventure Therapy and Adventure-Based Environmental Education, as well as my Environmental Interpretation and Education minor.

Unity College has introduced several new majors with Hybrid Learning. Perhaps you may think, well Amy is not in the same major as me, what can she share? I am happy to share my experiences, everything about on-campus life, the classes, navigating campus, living in a residence hall and student activities, to off-campus student engagement and transitioning to Hybrid Learning.

As a prospective student, you may be looking for the insider scoop on Unity College and what college is like from a student’s perspective. I know I wanted the insider scoop during my college application adventure just a few years ago.

Deciding on a college can be a daunting task! Especially during these unprecedented times, this is only amplified. My goal is to help answer your questions and give you valuable insight to making the right college decision for you! While I am only one student, Unity College has a wonderful support team with plenty of resources to answer specific questions from financial aid to transfer credits, and everything in between.

In the meantime, I hope to check in with all of you via social media every other week and offer you some insight into Hybrid Learning and into life as a Unity College student!

I hope you join me!

Feel free to ask me questions via email or we can set up a time to call!
Please remember that while I am still a student, your questions and concerns are important to me – I will respond as soon as I can!
Email: aburt18@unity.edu

Why did I choose Unity College? 

There were a few factors! Financial impact, location and academic opportunities, were all influencing my college decision.  

Financial Impact. I looked at in-state universities and a few out-of-state colleges, which included Unity College. After completing my FAFSA I was looking at similar costs for the two options. Cost was important in my decision as I hope to leave college without much student loan debt. I am a junior, with three years of loans already distributed; I am very proud of my ability to keep those costs down with Unity College! With the new Hybrid Learning model, Unity College is even more financially appealing now where you can learn and pay at your own pace! 

Location. I was searching for colleges at the end of my junior year of high school, Unity College was at a college fair my high school hosted. I was intrigued and after learning more I placed them with my top choices for colleges. In the fall of my senior year, Unity College hosted an Instant Admissions Day for prospective students to attend and hear their acceptance decision in-person. It was the first time I had visited Unity College, and once I stepped on campus I felt at home. Campus is about 25 minutes in all directions from your typical fast-food place and Walmart. It is the perfect amount of rural Maine with the comfort of urban social life right around the corner! 

Academic Opportunities. As I was coming from a vocational high school, I wanted a similar hands-on experience from my college! Unity College offered experiential learning that would have allowed me the opportunity and the room to grow my skills. I was excited to take part in community learning and take advantage of the natural landscape of Maine and the location of Unity College to be involved in academic outings and campus life.  

These were just some of the factors influencing my own journey! If you have any specific questions, please reach out to Student Financial Services (sfs@unity.edu), our Residential Director (snason@unity.edu), or one of our many wonderful instructors!

How was the transition into Unity College?

I was nervous, packed way too much stuff, and took my brand-new but used car all the way up to Maine! As a traditional student, I was surrounded by many peers who were on this same adventure together. I had a few familiar faces on campus I had known from my high school college fairs, Instant Admissions Day and the Winter Weekend Experience I attended.
There was never a moment I felt “lost” at Unity College. The campus is small enough where everything is within walking distance – even the center of town! I was confused my first week, like knowing where some of my classes were, but everyone on campus was friendly and willing to help! Getting used to the flow of campus and classes, was easy for me. I became very aware of the freedom of being on your own as a young adult and how valuable time management is! You must learn responsibility quickly when you are on your own!

To be candid, as an only child – I was the most worried about living in a Residential Hall with other people. When I was college searching, I was avoiding all known “party” schools. I was not used to living with a bunch of kids! Unity College has all ages on campus, from first-year students to senior students. Unless you are 21+ and/or live with family within 25 miles or less from campus, you will be on campus. I lived my first year in the Westview Residence Hall. It was a co-ed, chemical free building. With typically underclassmen in this Residence Hall and Public Safety right across from us, I felt very safe!

Transitioning to college was challenging at first, but a challenge I was supported in. It can be hard to be away from home, but you will quickly find yourself involved and part of the community here at Unity College! Please feel free to ask me your questions about transitioning to Unity College. I would be happy to talk via email (aburt18@unity.edu) or we can have a time to talk via phone or video conference!

What supports are there at Unity College?

Unity College wants their students to succeed! There are many supports for our students on campus or learning remotely. Do not be afraid to reach out and ask for help, no one wants to see you fail and instructors only know what you tell them.

Collaborative Learning Center (CLC) – Peer educators and mentors are here to help you at the CLC! This is a safe space where all learners are welcome. Ask your questions on current classes, and refresh on topics needing aid. All appointments can be scheduled through your Unity College account with WCOnline. On campus students have physical access to the CLC, and hybrid student have the same amount of support via online meetings in WCOnline.

Harrison Aldrich Wellness Center – For taking care of yourself — from body to mind — the Wellness Center is your support. Trained medical professionals are ready to care for students. If an emergency arises, they help implement the campus’ various emergency action plans. All students have access to Telehealth, along with the Therapy Assisted Online (TAO) program.

Residential Advisors – On campus students living in residence halls have their own personal support just a few doors away. Residential advisors are trained to help students with roommate conflict. Think of these advisors as an “older sibling” keeping an eye out for you and making sure you kept safe and head in the right direction!

Student Success – On campus there is a physical location for your one-stop shop for everything needed from a student standpoint. Hybrid students have this resource as well just in a different form. Staff can direct you to where you need to be.

Student Financial Services – Questions about the (FAFSA), direct versus unsubsidized loans, Parent Plus loans, payment plans and more can be directed here. Staff are trained and ready to help discuss options for how make an education at Unity College affordable.

Dorothy Webb Quimby Library – This three-level building hosts all the resources you could need for research projects to presentations, and for your own reading leisure. Check out their online resources and more at: https://library.unity.edu/home.

This is not an all-inclusive list of the extent of supports here at Unity College! Connect with a recruiter or your Hybrid Coach to learn about how Unity College can help you succeed!

Classes: Required textbooks!

Before your classes begin, it is imperative you are prepared as a student to be ready to learn on the first day. The first step is to know what you need. Once you know what you need, you can begin the process of obtaining your materials.

How do you know what you need? Through your student SSO portal, check CAMS and go to your scheduled courses. There is a “book-list” tab that allows you to see if there are any textbooks!

How do you obtain your materials? Unity College does not make you buy materials from one source, but they make recommendations for where you can buy. Make sure — however you choose to obtain materials — that you are sourcing the correct editions and checking the ISBN of the books. Different editions may be allowed but check with your course instructor as page numbers and figures may have changed since older releases.

How does Amy get her books? The following is the order of how I tend to source my materials. As you will see, it tends to range from most cost efficient to most beneficial. Can you tell I am a college student? I first search for online eBooks with the Dorothy Webb Quimby Library and beyond to local libraries. I then ask for friends who may lend their used books or buy online books with said friend! In my recent class, a Pearson book was shared with a peer on one account login, and we split the difference. Classes that are specific to your major will have key books to succeed in your career. I recommend buying hard copies for yourself — and staying away from eBooks — as hard copies can be easier to keep track of later. For example, I know I will practice psychology, so I spend the extra money on psychology related classes for the textbooks. If you own it, you can annotate your reading in the book and add notes as you wish.
I hope this helps! Talk to you soon.
Email: aburt18@unity.edu