Preparing students for Pima’s ‘first year’

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by ALEXZANDRIA MARTINEZ

 Pima Community College’s First Year Experience is an umbrella program, which means it offers several different options for every student. 

 Every student has different needs and interests and are in different areas of their lives. The program caters to students with at least 30 credits. At Pima, 30 credits classifies you as a freshman; 60 credits a sophomore. 

The program, which was founded in 2017, is targeted toward students who are on track for a two-year graduation. In lots of cases, most students haven’t completed the 30 credits needed for the first year. 

However, the First Year Experience has events that can benefit any student who is reaching or have first-year credits. 

“The program is ‘new word’  to the college and is growing, but it’s definitely a way for students to get connected with the college,” said Renee Forsyth, coordinator of FYE. “Our main goal is for students to get connected with the college, whether that’s with a resource or a person and when a student gets  connected that becomes their grounding point and that keeps them motivated to keep persisting.” 

There are seven events under the FYE program.

 Connect U is the first step after registering and new student orientation. Connect U typically serves about 300 students. Connect U meets mentors and staff who share their knowledge on their first-year experience. It’s essentially what to expect from Pima as a freshman college student. 

Connect U also offers a campus tour at the school you plan to attend. It helps guide students toward resources available, including a hands-on application, instructional guides to MyPima, D2L, etc.

The mentors also include group discussions with other students who are coming into their first year. If you cannot attend the meetings in person, there’s also an online program. This includes the new student welcome, which is an invocation of commitment to complete college with your class and a celebration that follows.         

FYE program offers a Career Cafe at all campuses each semester. The recent one was at West Campus Cafeteria, April 9. This event has helped 500 students within the two years. 

“A lot of students think that they know most of the answers, but then they come and see and they aren’t putting in the basic skills they need for resumes,” said Rachel Arazia from the human resources department. “This an opportunity to talk to hiring managers and figure out what they are looking for.” 

Human resources and workforce faculty come together and teach students how to gain insight. This includes giving tips and information for resumes and interviews. This event is essentially helping students seek jobs and providing clear and necessary advice on workforce. The event is livestreamed on Facebook for students who are interested but cannot attend. Streaming on social media allows students to ask questions and the ability to rewatch the livestream if a student has missed something important.

 Another event FYE offers is “Popcorn with a Program,”  which features different majors. The recent major featured was the public safety programs. The event brings in the advisers from Pima and transfers advisers from different universities. As well as faculty and the student life clubs. The event includes a lot of support for students and lets them ask questions for a specific program.  

The idea of this event is to understand the option of transferring at an early stage in college. This event also offers live streaming through Facebook. 

FYE program offers a passport program, which allows to buff up your transcript with co-curricular activities within the community and at the college. The passport programs have different categories, and the goal is to finish something in each category to fully complete the passport. The passport program helps complete the often missing piece to transferring. A lot of time students are missing the extracurriculars and only have their grades to show to universities. The passport program helps developed your co-curricular transcript for a competitive admissions office or career field.

Faces of First year is completely online through Facebook Live series, which hosts different interviews and showcases the resources offered at the college. This shows FYE students what is offered at Pima and the resources that exist at the college. 

The series shows faculty and FYE students sharing their experiences and their perspectives on the program. This benefits students who are long distance and take their classes online.  

The last event under FYE is the National Society of Leadership and Success. The program offers 600 chapters throughout the United States, with four offered in Arizona. There is one at the University of Arizona, and the one at Pima functions solely online. 

Being a member develops career and leadership skills and provides access to scholarships. This online program offers live videos of celebrity speakers who discuss their paths to success. 

The FYE program success rate is higher for students completing the two years at the college than studentd who were not part of the program.

 Of the students who went to Connect U in Fall 2018, 66% of the students remained in school rather than the 33% who didn’t, according to the Retention persistence and Term GPA.

Data showed that the students who stayed with the FYE program, 86% are persisting, while only 14% stayed within the college.

A variety of kiosks were available to students at an April 9 Career Cafe at Pima Community College’s West Campus.

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