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Kicking Off an Innovative Admissions Program, the First Bulls to Business Students Arrive

By Laura Kneski

Bulls to Business Students Arrive

TAMPA (July 20, 2018) -- Dancing, party tunes, snacks and balloons. The sounds of squeaky moving cart wheels, dinging elevators and new students timidly introducing themselves one-by-one echoed in the halls, as proud parents blamed teary goodbyes on some sweat in their eyes. After all, they said, they had just carried bulky luggage through the stifling heat of July.

The 31 new residents of the exclusive Bulls to Business Program moved into University of South Florida's Poplar Hall earlier this month, getting a jump on the majority of incoming freshmen by starting college four weeks before the fall semester begins. USF Housing & Residential Education staff were there to open doors and issue keys, but some also danced along to the early 2000's pop music in the background. Even the most nervous of newcomers had to smile.

"Everyone was so welcoming, the staff downstairs looked like they were having a great time," said Bulls to Business student Andrea Celis, who will join the Zimmerman Advertising Program in the fall. "It wasn't anything stressful, everyone was super helpful. And I love this building, it's just so nice."

Bulls to Business students share a common area on the same floor, along with two specialized courses designed for business students. The interactive professional development course, typically reserved for sophomores, covers everything from business etiquette to interview tactics and résumé writing. Though years away from hunting for jobs, the students acquire the tools they will need to land internships while they study.

Meanwhile, successful completion of the math course means surpassing the often dreaded college algebra course.

"I just thought it was a really cool program," said incoming business analytics and information systems major Robert Stanley about why he chose Bulls to Business. "Might as well get a head start on it."

That seemed to be the consensus of the day. Whether it was parents or students being asked, the idea of making early friends and navigating campus before the rush of students in the fall is considered a major perk.

Those who complete the summer portion of the program will be automatically enrolled into the Bulls Business Community, which offers business students an opportunity to visit corporate offices and go on company tours to get an in-depth experience of working in a corporate environment, senior Director of Undergraduate Affairs Jackie Nelson said. Such networking opportunities are usually unavailable to most freshmen.

"I'm very excited to start my life here at USF, and all these programs that are available," Celis said. "It's so helpful to people who aren't sure what they want to do or are figuring it out and I'm really thankful that I found Bulls to Business and ZAP. It makes me more excited."

That evening, after parents were gone and boxes were unpacked, the new neighbors went over USF Housing rules with their resident assistant. Then, they all took a marker to the poster paper hanging on the wall. It was a list of community guidelines they wanted to regulate in their new home, including:

•             Motivate each other.

•             Make future connections.

•             Be awesome.