A student who is academically underprepared for college faces significant risk of not completing his or her degree. Without intensive learning support, the chances of graduating decline even more. But research shows that when a student takes advantage of academic support services, such as peer mentoring, degree attainment increases tremendously.
Through a program called Peer Academic Success Coaching, WMU is better able to serve those students who are at risk of not completing their degree. “The program provides two critical benefits,” says Tim Stoepker, a 1976 alumnus who recently made a gift to support a new peer coaching position. “First, it provides an opportunity for the students being coached to receive one-on-one assistance in pursuit of their education without added cost. Second, it provides an opportunity for the peer coaches to apply their education in a hands-on manner while supplementing their income. Most importantly, the program has a proven track record of success in supporting students who otherwise would not likely complete a college education.”
THE COACHING PROCESS
Students enrolled in the Peer Academic Success Coaching program receive:
- Hour-long one-on-one sessions with a coach twice weekly throughout the semester
- A customized plan based on each student’s unique academic needs
- Assistance in areas such as understanding content, easing test anxiety and developing study strategies
- Help with setting short-term, mid-range and long-term goals
- Help in maintaining accountability for making progress
While peer coaching is available to all WMU students, most participants are freshmen, first-semester transfer students or those experiencing academic difficulty. Since its launch in 2014, the program’s outcomes have been extremely positive. Data points to a significant impact on one- and two-year retention for coached students, as indicated in this graph.
HELP MORE STUDENTS FIND SUCCESS
The Peer Academic Success Coaching program would like to expand the number of students it can serve in the years ahead. The College of Arts and Sciences currently funds 12 coaches who work with 12 students each per year. To meet the needs of all students seeking support, the program hopes to add an additional 12 coaches to its staff.
It takes $4,222 to fund a coaching position and supplies for an entire academic year – but any gift, no matter the size, means more students will get the assistance they need to graduate.
To support Peer Academic Success Coaching at WMU, please visit MyWMU.com.
Learn more about the coaching process.