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Chaparral Experience

The Chaparral Experience was designed to support first-year students with their transition to College of DuPage. First-year students will have the opportunity to network, develop a sense of belonging and acquire necessary tools to stay academically engaged and succeed at COD and beyond.

All first-time-in-college students will be automatically enrolled in the Chaparral Experience through Blackboard beginning in January 2022. If you started at COD prior to January 2022, you can self-enroll. There is no-cost to participate.

Self-Enroll in the First-Year Seminar

The Chaparral Experience strives to provide a collaborative environment for you to grow and develop your skills. 

Academic Development

Professional Development

Personal Development

  • Connect with a community of engaged learners and participate in mentoring opportunities.
  • Attend social and cultural outings.
  • Network and develop positive relationships with peers, staff, and faculty members across campus.


The goal of the Chaparral Experience is to help you succeed personally and professionally throughout your studies at COD.

What You Will Learn

  • Discover Academic and Career Pathways to help you choose a career.
  • Identify places to transfer your credits seamlessly so you can continue your education at a baccalaureate-granting institution.
  • Explore resources that can help you prioritize your studies.
  • Participate in mentoring opportunities and explore career options.
  • Attend social and cultural gatherings that can help you develop a sense of belonging.
  • Learn more about New Student Orientation and the College of DuPage website.

First-Year Seminar/Learning Modules

As a first-year student, you will be assigned to a Chaparral Mentor to facilitate your transition to COD. The Chaparral Mentor will keep you engaged throughout the experience and on track to complete the required learning modules.

Login to Blackboard to Begin

Analyze key communication and organizational skills needed for academic success. 

Learn about the resources available to you at College of DuPage. 

Explore ways to build a community through campus life, and learn how joining a new campus community can help you persist in your college journey. 

Begin to identify career goals, strengths, interests and preferences. Engage in a process of self-exploration, which can lead to a greater sense of your personal academic plan. Academic and Career Pathways at College of DuPage will be introduced, along with  "Program Maps" to lead the way to your goals.

Analyze your time management, and explore ways to change habits in order to achieve academic success.  A chart is provided as a guide for you to maintain successful life balance. 

Learn how thinking can improve your studying and discover ways to apply this knowledge to your classes throughout your college journey.

Students are often confronted with anxiety related to coursework or exams, disappointment with academic progress, or indecision about the future. Here is a brief introduction to some wellness tools to better equip you to successfully navigate and overcome these potential obstacles.

In this section you will learn about college majors and begin to explore transfer options. You will be introduced to a key campus partner, where you can learn ways to develop your employability skills.

Students engaging in first-year experience programs are more successful than their peers who do not participate in these types of programs.

Jayne Brownell and Lynn Swaner

Contact Information

Roberto C Valadez
Director, Pathways for Student Success
Phone: (630) 942-2481

Beth Buhmann
Administrative Assistant, Pathways
Email: buhmannb@cod.edu
Phone: (630) 942-2487