jerry price

Welcome From Jerry Price, Dean of Students!

Welcome to Chapman!

Welcome to Chapman! We are so glad that you have chosen to be a part of our community of scholars. As you probably are aware, as a traditional, residential campus, we have many fewer new students start in the spring semester as compared to the fall. As a result, entering Chapman as a new student in the spring certainly has a distinctive feel compared to the fall. In August, we have approximately 2300 new undergraduate students; that means 25% of our undergraduate student body – one out of every four students in class – are new to Chapman.

In the spring, however, that number is closer to 2%. Translating those numbers to the classroom, that means in the fall semester you would be one of six new students in a class of 24, but in the spring it’s very likely you could be the only new student in some of your classes. The upside to this is that Chapman is a friendly place, and those 2300 new fall students are now experienced spring students available to help you with insights and suggestions on how to successfully navigate your first semester at Chapman.

Whether a student is part of the new 25% in the fall or the new 2% in the spring, the formula for success doesn’t really change. There will be a million new things to think about over the next few months, but my experience has been that there are three fundamental factors that contribute to new student success:

  1. Clarify your desired academic/career path. This does not mean you need to have your major solidified right away; in fact, about 25% of Chapman freshmen either don’t have a major or say they are likely to change it. The key is to be actively exploring your academic and career objectives. Does your major still feel right after the first one or two semesters? If so, great; if not, you need to be proactive in exploring alternative academic paths.
  2. Make satisfactory academic progress. Like all other new Chapman students, you probably are accustomed to high academic success and are expecting the same of yourself here. That’s how it should be. However, the academic demands of Chapman classes likely will be very different from what you experienced in high school or even community college. Be prepared to stay disciplined and work hard. 
  3. Develop interpersonal connections with your peers. At Chapman, social connections cannot really be separated from academic ones. I say this because many of the peer relationships you develop will be with people who share similar academic and career interests; it essentially is the beginning of your networking process. Just as important, studies show that students who develop strong interpersonal connections with their peers perform better academically and are more likely to persist to graduation. I encourage you to commit yourself to making connections with others. Seek out your orientation leader or resident advisor. Try out campus clubs and organizations. Check out campus speakers, athletic events, and fine arts performances. Most importantly, take the initiative to reach out to students in your classes, orientation group, or residence hall. Trust me: everyone is hoping for this connection – why can’t you be the one who makes it happen?!?

Finally, along the way, the key is to be patient and stay positive. Success in each of the three fundamentals above happens on a different timeline for each student. Some students feel great right away about their major but are having trouble making close friends; other students make friends right away, but struggle early in their adjustment to Chapman academics. It is important to stay confident and keep plugging away, and things will come together for you.

We Are Chapman

Without question, one of the primary goals of We Are Chapman is to create a diverse and inclusive campus that is welcoming for all members of our community. However, We Are Chapman is about more than building a welcoming campus – it is about enhancing the quality of your education.

As stated in Chapman’s statement on diversity and inclusion, “We value diversity and inclusion in the learning environment and believe it is vital to the fulfillment of the university mission. It is our conviction that an inclusive learning environment facilitates complex, critical and creative thinking and that differences in identities, values, beliefs and perspectives are fundamental to a comprehensive education.”

It is my hope that by engaging in We Are Chapman you will appreciate how the differences in people, experiences, and ideas you encounter contribute to your own learning and growth.