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CSM introduces first-year coaching program to incoming students

Wednesday, Jul. 8, 2020

OMAHA, Neb. – College of Saint Mary (CSM) is pleased to announce the successful completion of its inaugural year of the CSM Student Success Coach Program. The university’s new first-year coaching program is designed to connect incoming students with staff from the college while providing them with a variety of support and resources throughout the semester.

“Retention data shows that students are more likely to stay at an institution where they feel connected to at least one person,” said Angela Fernandez, assistant dean for retention programs. “This program is an active way to ensure all incoming students make a meaningful, personal connection.”

All incoming first-year students are paired with a staff member who serves as a mentor and point of contact for the student. These staff members, who are considered “coaches,” receive training to be able to help students through various situations and refer them to CSM’s many campus resources in times of need. Coaches send monthly updates to students and meet with them either in person or virtually as often as the student wants.

“We have seen that the earlier we connect with students, the better,” explained Fernandez. “Establishing relationships is key. With this program, we can catch bumps in the road early for students, make them feel seen, and support their success all through graduation.”

Fernandez said that the response from the students and the coaches has been very positive.

“Students appreciated having someone check in on them and knowing they could ask someone for help if they needed it,” she explained. “The coaches enjoyed meeting students and knowing more about their experiences.”

The 2019-20 school year was the first academic year this program was offered, and it will continue next year in an even greater capacity. In addition to being available for first-year students, the program will also be provided to all transfer students with fewer than 30 credits and offered to all other transfer students who want some assistance navigating collegiate life.