SARC's ACE of a Program
Through this process, students may eventually find themselves struggling to develop the academic skills needed to take on new challenges. Whether a first year student, transfer student, or upperclassmen, SARC’s Academic Coaching and Engagement (ACE) program can be the extra bit of guidance needed to surpass these challenges and hurdle into academic success.
By participating in the ACE program, students can expect to meet one-on-one with an Academic Coach regularly throughout the semester. Brandy Espinosa, the ACE Program Coordinator, explains how regular coaching sessions are instrumental to the goals of the program: "Academic Coaching is intended to be ongoing. This element helps ensure accountability and success with achieving goals - if a student gets distracted, the Coach can help them reevaluate and stay on track."
In their one-hour sessions, students lead the discussion based on their needs. Topics often include things such as time management, textbook reading, test preparation, and note-taking. Students are challenged and encouraged to explore their areas of strength and improvement, ultimately becoming more self-aware in the process.
The peer-to-peer component is what makes ACE such an effective and unique program. Brandy explains that "Students meet with fellow undergraduate students who can relate to their struggles better than professional staff may be able to." In addition to being an experienced UCF student, coaches must meet other qualifications and receive training. All ACE Coaches have at least a 3.0 GPA, strong interpersonal communication skills, and are trained as Learning Skills Specialists, which equips them with the tools and knowledge necessary to help any student seeking assistance.
ACE coaches also provide a service to students that is always of high value: a connection to the University. Studies show that the more connected a student feels to their school, the more likely they are to stay in school and succeed. By meeting with an Academic Coach regularly, students are given the connection they may find themselves craving. Coaches are a resource for them to use, and can provide them with the mentorship and direction they seek.
Former ACE Academic Coach, Brysson Phan, explained his role: "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." One of Brysson's students, Brian Del Rosario, shared his perspective by adding, "Brysson gave me some 'mental space' for interpretation which allowed me to realize my mistakes and poor lifestyle choices and work towards changing them."
The ACE program is open to all students. To find more information about the ACE program, or to make an appointment, please visit www.sarc.sdes.ucf.edu/ace.