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First year transition program helps prep for success

Queen’s has piloted a new program to support first-year undergraduate students in making the transition to university life.

More than 100 students participated in Q Success during the fall term, attending weekly small group sessions that focused on how to think, learn and write for university; organizational and time-management skills; coping and self-management skills;  and healthy lifestyle and self-care skills.

Participant Natasha Williot says Q Success helped boost her confidence throughout her first semester.
“What really helped was knowing that there are others with the same fears and excitements about university,” she says. “Figuring out together how to deal with university life, whether it was about school, food or reducing stress, made it that much more comforting.”

Each group was assigned a pair of upper-year mentors, who facilitated group discussion, shared their personal and academic transition challenges and successes, and guided students in developing their own learning plans to maximize their success at Queen’s.

“Working with the first-years has greatly impacted my outlook on success and what that may encompass,” says mentor Anna Majetic, a 5th year philosophy major. “Sometimes it may encompass seeking and being open to help. In that regard, the first-years that I was privileged to work with were truly inspiring!”

The program also included a small cohort of students who opted in to a parallel Aboriginal-student-specific group led by staff at the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre and supported by a graduate student mentor.

To respond to the overwhelming demand for the program, an on-line version called Q Success v. 2.0 was established so that students who did not get into the in-person sessions could opt-in to receive study tips and links to academic skill development resources through weekly emails.

“We are very pleased with the response to Q Success,” says Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs. “We recognize that first-year is a major transition for students, academically and personally, and we are confident the program can make a significant difference in their ability to work through the challenges and opportunities that are part of university life.”

Q Success was recommended by the Principal’s Commission on Mental Health and is being funded by an anonymous donor. The pilot program is being evaluated to assess its effectiveness and impact.

More about Q Success