Your student could become a peer coach
What’s one of the easiest ways to help incoming freshmen transition to their new environment? “That’s easy,” according to Waheed Ameen, junior journalism/mass communication major. “Become a peer coach.”
Abby Cohen, assistant director of the First-Year Experience, said “becoming a peer coach is a great way to give back to the university, gain leadership skills along with community service, and to help a student become more comfortable with the school. It also lets the students know that they have someone to talk to who has experience and is willing to help them.”
Peer coaches are introduced to their assigned students during welcome days, and help students settle into their residence halls. This provides incoming students with a chance to interact with a current student, ask questions, and exchange contact information. During the year, activities such as pool parties, game nights, and pumpkin painting are offered for the peer coaches and their students.
Students wishing to become peer coaches must complete an application process, including one letter of recommendation and an interview. Applicants must meet a minimum 2.5 GPA requirement.
“We try to pair students and peer coaches based on similarities, such as hometown, major, or other interests, so there is some sort of foundation for them,” said Cohen.
Students who wish to become peer coaches for next year can attend any interest meeting and pick up an application form. The meetings are being held on March 4-7. They can also email Cohen. After the applications are reviewed, students will be called in for interviews and will be notified, if selected, a few weeks later.
Peer coaches go through training to help them before interacting and communicating with incoming students so they know how to respond to commonly asked questions and concerns with which freshmen are faced.
Ameen, who has been a peer coach for almost two years, loves the program. He said, “I’ve had about eight students assigned to me, and even though some have exited the program, I have gotten the opportunity to become close friends with a few of them.” One freshman, Chris Simmons, has become one of Ameen’s close friends. “We have lunch and hang out together. I think he knows if he ever has a problem he can come to me and I’ll do my best to help him,” Ameen said.
Simmons, a freshmen history major said, “I’m happy to have Waheed as my peer coach. We play basketball almost every day, and he gives me advice. It helps me out a lot!”
“It’s the best feeling in the world just knowing that you’re like a mentor to them because they really look up to you,” said Ameen.
Class of 2013