First year college students come to campus energized, excited, and sometimes a little anxious and overwhelmed. This may be their first experience living on their own and away from home as well as taking on classes that bear little resemblance to their previous high school courses. They are now expected to be responsible for themselves and live with complete strangers for months at a time.
To address this, Bloomfield College has developed a first year personal coaching program that will allow first year students to address concerns they have as they settle in to college life. Two resident directors (RDs), each responsible for a large residence hall and several smaller houses that hold first year students, were trained by Dr. Denise Dennis, a psychology faculty member, on methods in coaching. The RD/coaches are to meet with their students at least four to six times in an academic year, using an agenda developed by the students and guided by the coaches.
The goals of this initiative are to support the first year students in their process of exploring educational, personal, professional, and social growth both on the campus and beyond. The focal point of the program is to encourage and assist students in making healthy life choices and seek greater levels of responsibility for their own successes. The process will expand the students’ worlds, provide valuable feedback, and promote critical thinking and problem solving skills in their own process of discovery and inquiry. Among the topics to be explored are campus support services and resources, time and stress management, healthy behaviors, organizational skills, diversity, and personal and academic goal setting.
The coaching process is designed to retain first year students in a supportive atmosphere that gives them a forum to voice their concerns in a safe environment. The initiative falls under the guise of the Total Resident Undergraduate Education or T.R.U.E. program that is required of all resident students. While transfer students are not required to attend coaching sessions, they are encouraged to participate to help them transition to Bloomfield College resident life.