‘With a little help from my friends…’
Success coach program provides student-to-student assistance, guidance
No one has all the answers. But a unique program at Iowa is making it easy for students to be successful by offering them advice, encouragement, and connections to campus resources—all from peers who are easily accessible in each residence hall.
Student success coaches can help their fellow students with the following types of questions—and more:
• How can I do better in class?
For more details, see housing.uiowa .edu/student-success-coach.
The Student Success Coach program, offered to on-campus residents by UI Residence Education, is in its second year and the only program of its kind among Big Ten and Iowa public universities. The team of seven student success coaches has gone through training and can offer guidance about anything from goal setting and time management to getting involved on campus.
Coaches reach out individually to students whose MAP-Works, or Making Achievements Possible, results show they may benefit from having some extra help. First-year students take the survey about a month after arriving on campus, and it aims to gauge their adjustment to academic, social, financial, and other demands of college life.
Each coach also sends out an introductory email to the residents in their assigned residence halls. Students can email a coach directly or stop by their regular building hours to meet one-on-one.
“It’s a program anyone can take advantage of, whether they’re doing really well and just want the opportunity
to talk with someone—because there’s always room for improvement—or they’re really struggling,” says Patrick Rossmann, an assistant residence education coordinator who oversees the Student Success Coach program. “It’s a connection to a student who cares and wants to help out.”
Jon Abdo, a sophomore business major from Iowa City, was one of the students who reached out last year to a student success coach just to talk. Now he’s the coach for Hillcrest Hall and says he enjoys helping make a difference. It’s something he hopes to continue doing by pursing a career in university student affairs.
“I think it’s really important for students to know that, regardless of what kind of questions they may have or what kind of help they may need, there is someone here who cares about them as an individual,” says Abdo. “Our role is really like a coach—we’re
here to offer support, share our experiences, build relationships, and guide people to achieve their goals.”
Dakota Hiner, a first-year student from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, took advantage of Abdo’s coaching. She’s on the pre-pharmacy track and interested in identifying activities to broaden her academic and
professional experience. She says Abdo helped her compose an email to the UI College of Pharmacy, which provided her with information on a student organization and an opportunity to gain work experience as a pharmacy technician.
“Having someone there who can help me find answers makes things
They know what works and doesn’t work from trial and error or from other students who have passed the information down to them.”
And Hiner has this advice for other students: “Try it. It’s an easy way to get help.”