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First Scholars® Program Overview

First ScholarsFirst Scholars® is a comprehensive program that supports first-generation students and assists them in completing their college degrees. Participants form a cohort and generally take a common course. First Scholars® delivers multiple levels of support, including a full-time program coordinator and peer mentors to augment existing university services. Initially, the staff and programming focus on assisting scholars adjust to campus life by introducing campus resources and encouraging participation in campus organizations and activities. The next phase involves each scholar, guided by the program coordinator, creating an individualized strategic plan based on his or her results on the Student Strengths InventoryTM(SSI). The plan identifies strengths and areas for growth and outlines strategies and interventions tied to goals. Scholars retake the SSI periodically, as a part of continually updating and fine-tuning their individualized strategic plans throughout their college careers. Students selected for the program participate in social activities, workshops, service opportunities and maintain regular contact with their peer mentors and the program coordinator.

Programming includes:

  • Development of an individual strategic plan based on the scholars Student Strengths Inventory (SSI) results;
  • Peer Mentoring (freshmen and sophomore years);
  • Cohort common course (freshmen year);
  • Group activities such as social interactions, educational programs, service opportunities, resource awareness and enrichment opportunities.
  • Participation in a student organization based on the scholars interests
  • Pay-it-Forward service opportunities

The "Pay-It-Forward" component allows scholars to give back by volunteering in community non-profit organizations and projects. In addition, scholars transition to a leadership role as they become upperclassmen -giving back by assisting incoming scholars as peer mentors or tutors or other roles benefiting the program.

As scholars transition to upper-class status, programming will focus on personal development within the context of content areas such as leadership or social responsibility. Programming for this phase is currently in development. The First Scholars® programming is designed to help students adjust to, and thrive in, the college environment and beyond.



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Last Updated: 10/11/12