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Your First Year

Students at silent disco

Going from high school to college can be a big transition. We are here to help guide you through this process. Attending a Knight U: Orientation and getting registered for classes is your first step. Next, you will work to complete Knight Essentials, your online orientation to the university. Five days before classes begin, all first-year students will come to campus to start their Week of Welcome experience. We complete this process by enrollment in BU 100 – a course designed to support first-year student success in your first semester. We also offer optional Early Arrival programs you can learn more about below.

If you have questions or need assistance, please reach out to Elaine Surdyke, Director of Student Activities and Orientation, or 502.272.8477.

SHIELD Week Programs

SHIELD Week- Strengthening Habits through Intentional Engagement, Learning, and Development

Saturday, August 13- Thursday, August 18

During SHIELD Week, participants have the opportunity to connect with other incoming students, learn about available resources, and get familiar with campus before other students arrive! All four SHIELD Week programs are free to students, including food for the week as well as housing for residential participants. Knights of Color, Navigate, and Access BU programs will complete a FREE one-credit hour class BU 199: Career Pathways Exploration.

Priority Deadline: July 15
Applications for each program will remain open until programs are full.

Each of these unique programs aim to prepare students academically, socially, and personally for their journey at Bellarmine, while focusing on a specific identity or area of academic study.

The four SHIELD Week programs offered at Bellarmine are:

Knights of Color

At predominantly white institutions (PWIs) students of color sometimes experience issues of isolation, whether that be from being the only “x” in their class or in trying to find and connect with more people who look like them. This is not an issue specific to Bellarmine by any means. The Knights of Color Mentorship Program is a yearlong mentorship program designed for first year and incoming students of color (Black/African American, Latin/Hispanic, Asian/Asian American/Pacific Islander, Native American/Indigenous, and Multiracial) to help foster community, resilience, and strategies for success at a predominately white institution.

The Knights of Color SHIELD program includes opportunities to meet other incoming students of color, form networks with faculty/staff of color, and connect with upperclassmen who will serve as mentors throughout your first year at Bellarmine. Knights of Color continues throughout the academic year with study halls, tutoring, 1-1's with your mentors, and social and educational programming to ensure you have all the support you need to be successful at Bellarmine!

SHIELD week is a highly encouraged opportunity to attend but is not required to participate in the Knights of Color Mentorship Program. If you wish to be a part of Knights of Color but are unable to participate in SHIELD week, please fill out this form.

For more information contact


Access BU is a semester-long program designed to support students with disabilities in making a successful transition to college. In high school, students who use accommodations often have a team of professionals helping them to navigate the accommodation process, however, in college this becomes solely the student's responsibility. Access BU participants will learn how to use academic accommodations in college, build self-advocacy skills, connect with peer mentors, and establish a sense of belonging on campus. Participants will stay connected during the fall semester with ongoing programming, events, and 1-1's with peer mentors.

For more information contact

Navigate First-Gen:

Navigate First-Gen is designed to support our first-generation students (first in their family to graduate from a four-year college) in making connections on campus before Week of Welcome even starts! Participants will dive into what it means to be a first-generation college student and learn about the resources available to help them navigate life at Bellarmine.

For more information contact

Bellarmine Student Success Academy:

The Bellarmine Student Success Academy is a yearlong program designed to enhance first year students' academic transition to college. The Academy is open to students pursuing a major in the College of Health Sciences (nursing, exercise science, respiratory therapy, radiation therapy, medical laboratory sciences) from historically underserved populations (students of color, students from low-income backgrounds and/or first-generation college students). Academy Scholars will have access to academic resources that prepare them to be successful in both the Health Sciences and their undergraduate career. Participants will have the opportunity to attend seminars, events, and workshops to support their acclimation to college. Throughout their first year at Bellarmine, Academy Scholars will continue to be supported through programming, events, and academic services.

For more information contact