Connor Bowman knows how hard it can be to make the transition from high school to college.

The senior music education major did it himself just a few years ago, and now he’s helping the next generation of Redbirds at Preview, Illinois State’s summer orientation and registration program. Bowman previously served as a Preview guide, helping incoming freshmen and their families navigate Preview, and now he’s taking on more responsibility as a student coordinator.

Guides are essential at Preview, answering questions, connecting families to campus resources, and even giving basic directions around campus. But the real job, Bowman says, is to make incoming students feel more like “ISU is home” and eager to return in the fall.

“It’s a school I love. It’s something I’m very passionate about—helping students transition,” said Bowman, a student leader who grew up in Salem in southern Illinois.

Illinois State’s Preview tradition dates back to 1966, when it was launched by President Robert Bone. At today’s Preview, incoming students meet with their academic advisor, register for classes, meet current students and future classmates, learn about involvement opportunities, and receive their Redbird ID card, among many other activities. This summer’s program runs for six weeks, until July 21.

Preview guides are the “soul” of the program, said Corey Burgess, M.S. ’11, coordinator of orientation and transition services for University College, which oversees Preview.

“(Connor) is unapologetically himself 100 percent of the time. And I can’t help but appreciate that. I know that students, parents, and guests also notice that,” Burgess said. “He loves ISU so much, and you can tell by everything that he says.”

Want to be a Preview Guide yourself? Applications for Preview 2017 will be available at the start of the spring 2017 semester.

Ryan Denham can be reached at

2 thoughts on “Video: Preview guides help new Redbirds feel at home

  1. Sue says:

    Way back in the summer of 1976, May parents and I attended Preview ISU. It was helpful for all us and we all remember the experience with fondness. My Dad had an alarm system on his ’65 Chevy Impala that set itself off about midnight the night we stayed in Hewitt! Thank you ISU for many memories and incredible well rounded education.

    1. Thank you, Sue, for the kind words. We always appreciate when our alums share their memories of ISU.