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Grant-Funded Peer Success Coaching Program Established to Support Newest Ferris Students

Ferris State University’s Center for Leadership, Activities and Career Services has launched its Peer Success Coaching program. The program’s goal is to enhance the Bulldog experience for nearly 1,500 FTIAC, or “First Time In Any College,” students during the 2020-21 school year. There are 13 peer success coaches made up of student leaders from all across campus, who each have unique groups of students they will serve. Every FTIAC student can connect with their peer success coach to set goals, create a healthy routine, understand campus practices, learn about campus events, attend study groups, create a career action plan and live the Bulldog experience.

Thanks to a $10,000 Michigan College Access Network grant, Ferris officials note tremendous support for the peer coach initiative. The grant award went to programs developed in response to COVID-19 needs. The peer success coaching program started Aug. 1, with coaches contacting 1,480 FTIAC students to welcome them and answer questions before the student’s arrival on campus. These 13 coaches now will be working with students virtually or in-person, with one-on-one sessions or in groups. The program goals are to welcome, support and celebrate first-year student involvement success by helping students get connected quickly, with the opportunity to join student organizations, discover involvement opportunities, and find ways to build their essential career skills. The academic focal points include increasing FTIAC semester GPA, fall to spring retention, and fall to fall retention.

The first “Becoming A Bulldog” First-Year Transition Week took place Aug. 17-23. Peer Success Coaches led more than 15 virtual sessions on topics such as using Bulldog Connect, joining student organizations, finding service opportunities, and discovering co-curricular experiences. Social activities also took place. The activities included Netflix watch party, icebreaker socials and bingo. Prizes, such as gift cards to the bookstore and Starbucks, went out to students who were active participants in these events. At the end of the week, one student participant told their coach, “Thank you all SOO much for everything this past week. I have had so much fun and have met so many new people. I have also received really great advice from all of the mentors. I think that all of these events have made me feel a little more comfortable with my transition to Ferris.”

Peer Success Coach Rene Maier said the experience has been rewarding.

“I am excited to be a peer success coach this year because it allows me to make connections with first-year students and help them with their concerns while navigating college life,” Maier said. “This program allows for peer guidance, which in turn allows for open communication between coach and student. Moving to a new place is very intimidating, and I am very excited to be a resource to calm some of those worries.”

The CLACS staff is eager to continue this program’s launch in its first semester and develop our coaches and newest students. Anyone interested in more information can contact CLACS Director Angela Roman by email.