What is First-Year Connections ?
First-Year Connections is a university-wide mentoring program focused on helping first-year and transfer students make a successful transition to FAU's academic expectations and our campus culture. We do that by leveraging the power of a personal connection to one of the talented women and men who research, teach, study, and work here at FAU.
Many FAU students report leaving FAU due to a lack of connection and lack in the use of academic support services. Ultimately our goal is to increase the number of students who choose to remain at FAU and who do so in good academic standing.
Will my time make a difference?
6.9% point higher retention rate: Mentored first-year students returned for a second year of study at FAU at a higher rate than their peers. Transfer students who were mentored through Connections also had higher retention rates.
6.5% point stronger academic progress rate: Mentored students were more likely to return in good academic standing.
Mentored students earned higher grade point averages and completed more credit hours than their peers.
Who Can Become a Mentor?
Current faculty, staff, undergraduate students, and graduate students (with at least one-semester at FAU), in good standing, are eligible to be mentors.
Benefits of Becoming a Student Mentor
- Knowing that you have made a difference in the educational experience of a new student.
- Contributing to a larger effort to recruit and retain increasingly stronger students.
- Reacquainting ourselves with the experience of being a new student on our campus.
- Learning how new students perceive our efforts and decipher our culture and systems.
What are the expectations?
- Mentor 1- 3 students for one semester.
- Connect with your mentee at least once per month in person and 5-6 times via text, email, social media, video chat, etc.
- Initiate communication with your mentee (understanding that although they are interested in getting to know you, they may be cautious about asking for your time).
- Recommend campus events and opportunities that advance their goals.
- Respond to three brief surveys each year reporting on the status of your mentoring partnership.
- Attend program events and orientations as available.
How will I be matched?
You are paired with a mentee through a matching algorithm that considers academic areas of interest, co-curricular involvements, and common goals for a mentoring relationship. You will also have the option of describing any specific interests you have in supporting a mentee -- for example, mentoring a woman interested in physics, mentoring a veteran, mentoring LGBTQ identified students, etc.
How do I apply?
Applications will open in late Fall 2021, for the Spring semester. Stay tuned!
Tips for successful mentoring:
- Build a student's knowledge of and comfort level in using campus resources through direct referrals.
- Remember what it was like to be new -- when you didn't understand how campus buildings were named, had never heard the word syllabus, and were unacquainted with many of the majors offered.
- Maintain contact. We all get busy. Sometimes a short sentence acknowledging receipt of an email and replying you'll be in contact later will suffice if you don't have time for a longer conversation. It will assure your mentee that they have been heard and that you will have time for them. If you haven't heard from your mentee, encourage them to adopt a similar approach. A quick line, such as "I haven't heard from you lately, it must be a busy time of the semester" may help bridge a lag in communication.
- Refer any concerns to the Mentoring Project staff. If at any time your mentoring relationship is extending beyond what you are comfortable providing, please share your concerns with us. We can then address the situation by pointing your mentee to the appropriate resources for support.