Peer Success Coaching helps new students build connections during pandemic
UIC’s new Peer Success Coaching program provides new students the opportunity to connect with upperclass students to assist them with the transition to college and help them feel part of the UIC community during the pandemic, when many students are taking classes online. The program is supported by a grant from the Chicago Education Equity COVID-19 Response Fund at The Chicago Community Foundation.
“The Peer Success Coaching program provides one way to connect with the campus and talk to someone who has gone through a few years at UIC sharing their experiences with their peers — what has worked for them, their successes and their stories,” said Nikos Varelas, vice provost for undergraduate affairs and academic programs.
To join the program, which launched this semester, make an appointment online.
“Knowing a Peer Success Coach can help students build a virtual community of friendly individuals who help students through the uncertainty we face during this pandemic, coupled with the start of a student’s college experience,” said Elizabeth Houlihan, director of the Office of First-Year Initiatives and interim director for the Academic Center for Excellence.
Coaches meet with students to discuss their goals, strategies for reaching them and campus resources that can help them, Houlihan said. The coaches go through extensive training to prepare for helping students navigate their college experience.
“Our coaches will help you identify your own learning strengths, develop goals, manage your time for success and help you navigate college, whether you are on campus or learning remotely,” said Nichole Knutson, associate vice provost for student success and interim director of the Office for Research on Student Success.
Live coaching chat also is available online if quick assistance is needed.
“This peer connection, and having upperclass peers share their own challenges and the opportunities and successes they have had at UIC, is priceless,” Varelas said.