ACE['s] for All Students
For first-year students, attending one of the largest universities in the United States can be both exciting and intimidating. It's often easy to get lost in the ocean of students that populates the campus, and overwhelmed by the sheer number of clubs, events, and resources. Whether a first-year student, transfer student, or upperclassmen approaching challenging higher level courses, many students discover that they need to adjust their study skills -- or adopt new ones.
Enter the Academic Coaching and Engagement (ACE) program. Created to support all undergraduate students, the ACE program provides one-on-one sessions with Academic Coaches. Coaches are UCF students who have a 3.0 or higher GPA and have been trained as learning skill specialists. Their primary purpose is to support students in every capacity, and act as a bridge that connects the student to the university. Coaches do this by helping ACE participants identify their strengths and areas for growth, then guide them in developing the necessary life and academic skills to succeed in their endeavors. Coaches often determine their individual purpose in the role with inspiration from their own experiences and their interactions with students. "On a superficial level, I was there to teach students how to study and perform well in school. However, I felt like my larger purpose was to instill confidence in my students and show them they can be successful in any facet of life," said Academic Coach Brysson Phan.
In the one-hour coaching sessions students lead the discussion with their individual needs; however, common topics discussed are time management, test preparation, note-taking, textbook reading and memory skills. Students are encouraged to participate regularly throughout the semester as the ongoing relationship can help keep them on track and stay accountable for their goals. Not to mention, a high level of participation can make a student eligible to apply for one of the many ACE Program Scholarship opportunities that are exclusively for ACE participants who meet a set of criteria.
One success story lies in the probationary experience of UCF student Brian Del Rosario. Brian found that the primary reasons for his placement on probation were severely inefficient time management skills, inability to study and lack of focus. Brian credits his ACE Coach, Brysson, for helping him improve enough in all areas to be removed from probation. "Brysson met with me in order to hold me accountable for my academic progress." Brian explains that they discussed motivational strategies as well as implementing self-management strategies. Brian notes, "He definitely supported me without judgment." He goes on to say that "Brysson also gave me some 'mental space' for interpretation which allowed me to realize my mistakes and poor lifestyle choices and work towards changing them."
The students that participate in ACE make up a diverse population with varying experiences, but many are seeking to connect as well as improve themselves personally and academically. Each semester is accompanied with new challenges and courses that may require new strategies to succeed. ACE can help all students create a game plan for success, regardless of their academic status, major, age, or circumstance.
Brian is just one story of many. He finished the semester strong, earning an ACE tuition scholarship and removal from academic probation. Though he was successful by the end, Brian recounts his initial feelings of being on probation. "My probation experience, to sum up in one phrase, was rather harrowing" he said. Like many students, Brian felt a sense of disappointment upon learning he was placed on probation. However, with the help of his Coach he was able to use that experience as motivation and subsequently avoided disqualification. The ACE scholarship was merely icing on the cake.
To learn more about the ACE program, click "Read More" below.