The first year of a student’s college experience is often the most exciting – new freedom, new friends, and new opportunities. 

But there are challenges, too. College is an adjustment. Often, if students don’t develop time management, organizational, and study skills, they may struggle. 

To help students better transition to academic life here on campus, UNC Greensboro has launched the Keker Common Experience program, which replaces the “common read” program. 

Funded in part by the Lucy Spinks Keker Endowment, the program has four key components: a success guide and academic planner, event series, scholarship, and speaker visit. 

Every new Spartan received the success guide at NAV1GATE New Student Convocation. More than 2,000 students are actively using the guides as part of the FYE 101: Succeed at the G program and other transition courses. 

“Students are using the guide inside and outside of class,” said Emily Wiersma, associate director of first year experience. “It’s for the entire academic year, not just fall. We’re also seeing that it helps a lot with advising.”

The event series – which includes workshops on FAFSA, financial literacy, and effective study strategies, as well as career fairs – has also been popular among students, says Wiersma. While the events aren’t new to campus, Wiersma and her team are partnering with other campus offices to get new students plugged in with these events and resources. 

“We know that when students get into these programs, they start engaging with these offices and resources, and they can set themselves up for success,” Wiersma said. 

Last week, Jullien Gordon, a nationally-recognized entrepreneur, speaker, author, and student success advocate, spent two days on campus talking to students and staff about how to make the most out of the college experience. While academics are very important, it’s also critical that students take advantage of the resources and opportunities outside of the classroom, such as leadership development programs, student organizations, study abroad, etc. He encouraged students to “maximize their time.”

“What matters is how you go to school,” Gordon said. “Are you here to finish? Or are you here to win?”

Students who follow Gordon’s advice and take full advantage of the Keker Common Experience have the opportunity to apply for scholarships in the spring semester.

Andrea Tyson is one of those students who uses the success guide both inside and outside of the classroom and has attended a variety of events. For her, the program has been transformative.

“As an incoming freshman, the transition to college and all of the changes that come with it are nothing that I could have planned for,” Tyson said. “Luckily, we have the Keker Common Experience program that offers guidance and information for freshmen on how to succeed in and out of the classroom.”

To learn more, visit newstudents.uncg.edu/fye/keker/

 

Story by Alyssa Bedrosian, University Communications
Photography by Martin W. Kane, University Communications