A big part of student engagement in campus life is academics. Many students choose to attend a specific institution because of a program of study and the quality of academics.

Additionally, many students who excel academically have an easier time landing their first job or getting accepted to graduate school. That is why starting off on the right foot will let first-year students reap these benefits in the long run. Support first year student success by being or guiding your students to great mentors and mentorship programs.

What is the Benefit of Mentorship to Academic Success?

First-year students are more likely to engage in campus life and are less likely to transfer if they are successful in academics. However, adjusting to higher education academics is challenging for two key reasons.

First, the rigor of higher education academics demands more time and energy from students. First-year students also need to learn how to succeed in different types of classes, including lectures, seminar discussions, labs, and presentations.

Second, students experience a new level of freedom when they start college. They tend to be in class for only 10-15 hours a week. Students decide how to manage the rest of their time. It’s essential that first-year students prioritize and allocate their time effectively between academics and their social life.

This is where mentorship can make a definite positive impact. An effective role model empowers first-year students to adapt to higher education academics, which results in student success. First, be an example of student excellence by modeling good study habits. Second, communicate the benefits of mentoring to your residents through chats, in person events and messaging. It helps to inform residents of the importance of mentorship, most importantly why they should pursue this avenue to ensure academic success.

Seven Tips for First Year Residents to Succeed Academically

Use studying best practices – Students who use study techniques—such as flashcards, practice exams, and reciting answers to tough questions—better absorb new information.

Update your calendar – A calendar set up for academic success should include classes, office hours, on-campus events, reminders, and homework due dates to avoid missing important deadlines.

Utilize office hours – Professors are a great resource for first-year students to understand what success looks like in class. Professors’ office hours give students the chance to check their academic progress and build rapport with professors.

Designate specific spots on campus for studying – Picking a place or two to study lets first-year students separate academic and social life. Recommend quiet places on campus to your residents over and above the typical spaces such as the library or  computer lab. Perhaps there is a little known outdoor quiet area, or under used study hall within campus housing.

Create a study group – Encourage your residents to form a group by identifying two to four other students who could study together. Studying collaboratively enhances learning by sharing resources and hearing diverse perspectives.

Practice self-care – Academic success can only happen if students take care of their mental and physical health. Taking breaks allows students to rejuvenate and process their learnings. Also, good nutrition and sufficient rest promote students’ health.

Tap into helpful resources – Connect students to on-campus resources to pinpoint their challenges and create a plan to overcome them. Resources will depend on your institution but could include academic advisors, the Dean of Students, or on-campus mentors.

Teach Residents What to Look for in a Good Mentor 

First-year students need great mentors to model success in academics. Mentors for your first-year residents will not only catalyze their success but will also be fulfilling and rewarding to you as you watch your residents excel.

First, set expectations the mentor-mentee relationship from the beginning by discussing clear expectations, the goals of mentorship, and what to expect from mentorship.

A good mentor actively listens to their mentees. Listening skills are required to fully understand each mentee’s specific challenges, relate to their experience, and offer tailored solutions.

Additionally, to be a great mentor, adaptability is crucial. A mentee may succeed one week and struggle the next. Mentors will checkin in proactively and showing up on short notice.

The Bottom Line    

Academics is a key aspect of student success on campus. However, it’s a hard adjustment for first-year students who are not familiar with higher education coursework. Proper mentorship in housing and from formal mentors bolsters a first-year students ability to make the necessary adjustments to flourish.

To start creating programs to support your first-year residents, talk to one of our consultants.

Ready to take your Student Engagement Programming to the next level?