In addition to the academic support it provides, the Success Academy acknowledges that the first year of college is loaded with transitions—more independence, less structure, new friends, navigating a new campus, figuring out computer systems. Success Academy’s peer mentoring and cohort approach aims to buffer the shock by providing opportunities to check in with others who are going through, or have gone through, similar experiences.
Kylie Black, a UNO Success Academy student, says she was terrified prior to her first year of college. “My biggest fears were getting lost on campus, not being able to find parking, being alone and not making friends, and failing my classes.” Through Success Academy events, peer mentoring, and regular use of the Success Academy study space Black is thriving in her first year. “The amount of support is truly amazing,” Black says, “Everyone that is there, is there because they want to help us, and they want us to grow and be successful.”
As a relatively young program, the Success Academy is building programming and working on the best formula to improve retention and persistence for these students to ensure they succeed. They’ve identified one barrier to student success as a gap in financial literacy and planning. To that end, they have partnered with the offices of Admissions and Financial Support & Scholarships to help address this.
Krueger says, “things will continue to change, and my hope is with each year and each group of students, we’ll make minor tweaks and keep doing what we’re doing.”