The transition from home and high school to the rigors of college life can present even the best students with challenges that require major adjustments and the swift acquisition of new life and learning skills. The need to become more sophisticated about academic demands, personal strengths, and a rapidly changing society’s impact on choices being made for the future is paramount. Getting off to the right start is critical.
From day one, the tools to succeed
Recognizing the importance of this transition, UT has established an innovative first year program designed to help students fit in quickly, set goals and acquire the skills needed to excel in their academic careers. Beginning with new student orientation, students feel secure, connected and supported in their new environment. At the same time, each student is challenged to make the most of their undergraduate experience.
Groups of students spend several days together getting to know each other and their instructor/advisor in a classroom environment and also in fun social settings. Parents are invited to parent orientation and encouraged to meet and establish open channels of communication with their student's academic advisor.
A system of support, a circle of friends
First-year students learn to make intelligent academic, co-curricular and social choices through The University of Tampa’s Gateways program. Each student is assigned to a yearlong Gateways course (a one-credit course each semester). The class is small, usually no more than 20 students with similar interests.
Student mentors work together with dedicated faculty to introduce first year students to the differences between high school and university survival techniques. In the residence halls, a team of resident life professionals and student staff (student to staff ratio is 23:1) are devoted to creating a stimulating and enjoyable environment where students can develop their academic and personal skills.
Developing a plan, putting it to the test
All colleges provide academic advising, but at UT advisors serve as mentors and personal advocates for students as well, helping them cope with academic and social concerns that may arise. Gateways instructors meet with their students each week and the faculty make a point of being accessible. These student-advisor relationships provide an invaluable source of support, continuity and perspective as students explore various paths throughout their undergraduate journey.
Making the grade, making the right choices
Students are encouraged and supported in their pursuit of academic and extra-curricular achievement. Support services include free tutoring in the Academic Center for Excellence and the Saunders Writing Center. The Office of Career Services is staffed with readily accessible counselors who encourage students to participate in self-evaluation and assessment activities, personal interest inventories, and mock interviews that help determine interests, skills and values as they relate to career choices. A historically strong tie to the local business community translates into a dynamic group of business leaders who serve as additional resources in exploring career options.