Supportive learning community helps BGSU freshman find sense of belonging on campus
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Andrew Maassel forges own path to success with unique academic journey
Like many high school students, BGSU freshman Andrew Maassel had a lot on his mind when it came time to make his college decision.
Ultimately, he knew that he wanted a campus that felt like home and an academic environment that could set him up for success on a pre-med track.
“I’ve always been a person who has wanted to help people,” he said. “A lot of people have told me that I was gifted in the sciences, so I thought this was a way I could help as many people as possible.
“It was something that always clicked with me. I’ve always been a numbers person, and it’s always interested me about how the body works and how you treat various things.”
When it came to the process of choosing a school, however, there were so many questions to ask — about majors and programs, living arrangements and financial aid — that making a decision felt overwhelming at times.
But once he and his family sought help from the BGSU Office of Admissions, they saw exactly what they hoped to find: a place where Andrew had support, resources and people willing to help.
Keyon Camden ’23, a coordinator of College Access and Admissions at BGSU who became a resource for the Maassel family during the process, said part of their goal is to educate prospective students and their families about college to help them make the best decision for them.
“We outline what makes BGSU different while also letting them know we’re here if you have any questions about college in general, not just about BGSU,” Camden said. “We want to be the person that you come to. We know that a lot of schools aren't like that, but we feel as if that sets us apart as an admissions office here at BGSU.”
Andrew’s mother, Tricia Maassel ’93, said she always had hoped that Andrew would consider being a Falcon, but didn’t nudge him. But after seeing the way prospective students were guided through the admissions process, the whole family felt at home.
“I always hoped he would go there because that’s my alma mater, but I never wanted to push him,” Tricia said. “But when we visited, they went above and beyond to make sure he felt welcomed and understood all the financial aid options. He knew BGSU was the right place because they took the time to show that they really cared.”
A number of schools expressed interest in Andrew for his extracurricular efforts at Toledo St. Francis de Sales High School, including forming a nonprofit that advocates against gun violence after one of his high school classmates was killed in a shooting, for which he was honored at the Ohio Statehouse.
Prior to the Statehouse ceremony, Tricia contacted Camden to ask if it would be OK if Andrew cemented his commitment to BGSU by posing in a photo with Gov. Mike DeWine while showing off his Falcons gear.
“That was a cool experience to have her say, ‘Hey, he's getting an award from the governor - would you like us to hold up some BGSU gear?' And I was like, ‘Absolutely.’” Camden said.
As a student, Andrew’s journey to college includes living with ADD and Asperger’s syndrome, which he said were factors in making a major life decision such as choosing where to attend college.
Andrew always has been a high-performing student, but college naturally removes students from their respective comfort zones in a short span by moving away from home, making new friends and jumping into a specialized degree program.
With supportive initiatives like the FLY program, which provides academic support for students with learning differences through graduate school, BGSU is committed to helping students succeed. After a successful first semester at the University without having enrolled in the program, Andrew and his family said having an on-campus resource provided reassurance that BGSU was the correct choice.
“It was very important to us that the school provided a top-notch education, but also that there were options,” Tricia said. “Since he has Asperger’s and is on the spectrum, I wanted to make sure it was a good environment for him where he had support. The FLY Program, even though he has not needed to enroll in it, was a big determining factor that gave us comfort that he has the support if he needed it.”
As a first-semester freshman, one of the ways Andrew became involved in campus life was to use BGSUserves, a free, online service that connects students to volunteer opportunities.
By connecting through BGSUserves, launched by the C. Raymond Marvin Center for Student Leadership and Engagement, Andrew said helping others helped him feel connected at his new school.
“BGSU offers a lot of opportunities to volunteer, and that really helped me out during my first semester on campus,” he said.
After one semester in college, Andrew said life at BGSU has been everything for which he was looking as a prospective student.
“I wanted to find a school that was beneficial to my career path and also a school where I felt like I belonged,” he said. “I saw in BGSU that their pre-professional track is strong, and I felt at home here. When I came here, I knew this was the place for me.”
Updated: 12/19/2023 01:22PM