Bellevue College students struggling with attending school and/or balancing their academic and non-academic lives will now be able to talk with another student whose job it is to help them get back on track.
The Student Success Coaching program, which started this quarter, will provide free, 30-minute, one-on-one meetings with a coach about a variety of topics related to student life. These include time management, motivation and goal setting, study strategies, and how to cope when you feel overwhelmed.
The program is the brainchild of Melissa Martinez, associate director of the Student Success and Retention Office. “I wanted to see something that I didn’t see happening,” she said. “(I) wanted to see something focused on skill development…It’s a practice that many higher ed institutions implement”
The coaching is available for all students, but a targeted demographic is those who are on “academic probation,” meaning they are in danger of flunking out of BC. It is also especially targeted toward those students with an “early alert,” meaning they have not attended a class, not done so for a long period of time, and/or are not turning in assignments.
Any student who wants to go to a meeting must book it online up to two weeks beforehand. They must also fill out a series of questions to help the coach prepare for the meeting. These questions range from basic personal info to what they want to achieve with the meeting, as well as their attitude about school and any outside commitments that may be holding them back.
According to Martinez, being overwhelmed is one of the most common struggles among students who are struggling to pass and/or attend school. “They’re really overwhelmed with the amount of work they have to do for their classes,” she said. “For some students, there are financial concerns, and others are trying to hold down a full-time job and 15 credits.”
There are currently three coaches in the program. These are drawn from a group of students called “Lead Peer Educators.” These are a group of students whose job it is to mentor first-year BC students. Martinez states that she wants to recruit more peer educators so that others can be freed up to do coaching.
Martinez thinks that the coaching will be very valuable for struggling students. “There’s so much value with peer-to-peer interaction and support,” she said. “I’m hoping students see this as an opportunity to connect with a fellow student and receive guidance from someone who knows what it’s like to be in their situation.”