Success Counselor Kira Terrill talking with a student at our Worcester Office

It’s hard for my First Year students to believe that the Fall 2012 semester is almost over! With that disbelief also comes the students’ awareness that their grades may not be as good as they were in high school. Many students really struggle with the transition from high school level to college level work.  Luckily, Bottom Line students have their counselors to really help guide them through the transition.  Bottom Line addresses this issue by providing summer programming and has developed specific tools to help our students find success during their critical first year.

Our summer transition program includes both group workshops and one-on-one meetings. One workshop on time management always seems to be especially eye-opening. After adding classes and study time to a weekly schedule, counselors bombarded students with different responsibilities and activities that also needed to be taken care of, on top of all of their studying and homework!  I can remember one student shouting “I don’t have time for all of this extra stuff!” Although a little early, it was an easy way for students to prepare for things they were about to face during their first (and every other) year of college. Some students immediately internalize the lesson and others need more reinforcing once they arrive on campus.

This fall, I’ve been working with many First Year students on improving their time management and study skills. I have 38 First Year students at four different colleges and have had 196 campus meetings and phone follow-ups this fall.  Additionally, I met with over 50% of my First Years who felt like they needed extra support for time management and test prep strategies meetings. Simply reading over notes doesn’t really cut it on college exams. My students and I have worked together to create study plans tailored to each of their exams, as well as their learning needs. With some students, I can simply suggest recopying and summarizing notes or making flashcards for vocabulary words. With other students, they may need to draw diagrams, attend tutoring and office hours, and form study groups. Helping students create these study plans and break down when things need to be done, makes the task of studying a little less daunting. Showing students how to put in a little extra effort and attack problems from different directions to make success possible shows the value of our meetings to my students and is why I love working for Bottom Line.

 

– Kira Terrill

Success Counselor

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Since the start of the school year, our Success Counselors have traveled to 20 campuses across Massachusetts to meet one-on-one with all of our 1,300 students. Liz Hood, a second-year Success Counselor, reflects on a busy month of the school year…

In the month of September, I had ninety-one campus meetings and traveled a total of four hundred and thirty-two miles to visit students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Boston College and Wentworth Institute of Technology. Despite that seemingly never-ending stretch of I-90 between Worcester and the exit off to Amherst (I went to Smith College and the Pioneer Valley will always hold a place in my heart) one of the things that I enjoy the most about being a Bottom Line Success Counselor is the ability to support students on campus and in person. A standard meeting that takes place in September is the first year check in meeting. This forty-five minute meeting addresses issues related to academics, campus life, financial aid and anything else that may arise.

Last month, I met with all of my first year students on their own campuses.  By being on campus I am able to more effectively connect students to the resources that are available to them and encourage them to advocate for themselves. First year students are often times intimidated by the idea of asking for help. The other day I met with a student who had an unresolved issue with her bill and she did not know where to go or what to ask.  We discussed her bill issue and acted out the conversation in a quick role-play, and I walked over with her to the bursar’s office.  She was able to resolve the issue on the spot. Another student I met with was struggling in Chemistry class, but did not know where to go for extra help.  We went to the tutoring center together and he signed up to meet with a tutor once a week.

I really enjoy working with first year students; I get to watch as students see the world opening up to them.  There is so much optimism and excitement as they begin to figure out who they want to be and what they want to do. I strongly believe that campus visits play an integral role in strengthening counselor-student relationships and demonstrate to students that Bottom Line is really invested in their success and wants to see them excel.

Liz Hood

Bottom Line Success Counselor

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