Incoming students at COC learn the ropes at Welcome Day


Starting a new school can be plenty stressful and a little nerve-wracking, but College of the Canyons had its incoming students covered on Welcome Day. 

COC hosted the return of its Welcome Day at its Valencia campus on Friday with workshops, open labs and tours. Incoming students had the opportunity to get acquainted with COC staff and learn about the various resources at COC such as the financial aid office, multicultural center, and the student health and wellness center. 

“It’s a welcome to campus, but it also lets us showcase what we have for [the students],” said Jasmine Ruys, vice president of student affairs. “We want to make sure that every student gets the services that they need to meet whatever their goals are.” 

Ruys said COC solidified what would become Welcome Day in 2019. Each year, they host the event a week before classes, so students could get familiar with campus, but during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, they stopped.  

Attendees join in the drum circle presented by the College of the Canyons music department during the Welcome Day event for incoming students at College of the Canyons, Valencia campus on Friday, 081222.
Attendees join in the drum circle presented by the College of the Canyons music department during the Welcome Day event for incoming students at College of the Canyons, Valencia campus on Friday, 081222. Dan Watson/The Signal

Welcome day came back in full force with more than 1,000 students and families on campus, according to the many backpacks and agendas they gave out to attendees, Ruys said. 

Incoming student Leila Clemens and her parent Norlin walked around Welcome Day and soaked up as much of the campus and information they could.  

Leila said she was a recent graduate of the Gorman Learning Center Santa Clarita Resource Center, a charter school in Canyon Country.  

Carina Aasted, right, hands out information to the hundreds of attendees as the walk among the 58 information booths on display during the Welcome Day event for incoming students at College of the Canyons, Valencia campus on Friday, 081222.
Carina Aasted, right, hands out information to the hundreds of attendees as the walk among the 58 information booths on display during the Welcome Day event for incoming students at College of the Canyons, Valencia campus on Friday, 081222. Dan Watson/The Signal

“[We] came because we heard there was free food,” Clemens said and laughed. “I’m looking forward to meeting new people on my first day, and it’s really cool getting new information.” 

“You know, I had a hard time figuring out what I was going to do, but I made the right choice [enrolling at COC] in the end. I’m really excited, and [I’m considering] majoring in computer animation.” 

Hundreds of attendees walk among the 58 information booths on display during the Welcome Day event for incoming students at College of the Canyons, Valencia campus on Friday, 081222.
Hundreds of attendees walk among the 58 information booths on display during the Welcome Day event for incoming students at College of the Canyons, Valencia campus on Friday, 081222. Dan Watson/The Signal

Norlin said she was more than happy to come to Welcome Day with her child, and felt comfortable with Leila attending COC considering she went to a large university and her son is attending a university in Los Angeles.  

“This is just organized and there’s a lot of resources and free stuff. It’s great,” Norlin said. 

Ruys also said community college is built for everyone, and it’s built for the needs of the community. 

Attendees head for the 58 information booths on display during the Welcome Day event for incoming students at College of the Canyons, Valencia campus on Friday, 081222.
Attendees head for the 58 information booths on display during the Welcome Day event for incoming students at College of the Canyons, Valencia campus on Friday, 081222. Dan Watson/The Signal

“We are just the same as a four year…you’re still getting that same level of higher education that you would at a four-year at the reduced cost,” Ruys said. 

About two weeks into the semester, COC will host its Cougar Week, where students will get the chance to engage with on-campus clubs and resources. But before then, Ruys encouraged incoming or prospective students to see what COC has to offer them. 

Attendees head for the 58 information booths on display during the Welcome Day event for incoming students at College of the Canyons, Valencia campus on Friday, 081222.
Attendees head for the 58 information booths on display during the Welcome Day event for incoming students at College of the Canyons, Valencia campus on Friday, 081222. Dan Watson/The Signal

“Welcome Day is just that, we are welcoming you to our campus,” Ruys said. “You might be walking around going, ‘I don’t know if this is for me.’ That’s fine, too. You might not sign up for classes, but we’re still here for you because everybody takes the time that they need in order to come.” 



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