Jump Start is a first-year transition program that serves traditionally marginalized or underrepresented student populations at Slippery Rock University.
Kristin Black, assistant director of student transitions in The Office of Inclusive Excellence, said the program helps with the academic and social transition into college life.
Aside from scholarship money, the program offers benefits, such as peer mentoring, early move-in and opportunities for socialization.
“It’s head-start access to campus resources with a smaller group,” Black said.
Peer mentor Nico Pool recalls his experience as a mentee in the program in a positive light.
“[Jump Start] helped me acclimate to campus very early on,” Pool said. “I was able to connect with academic support systems and a group of people who[m] I stuck around throughout my first year of college… As school came in, we began the year with no worries because we were all in the same boat.”
As a mentor, Pool has been able to see more of the program behind the scenes.
“I get to be there for incoming freshmen,” he said. “I enjoy supporting them and answering any questions they may have.”
In addition to before-school preparations, Jump Start serves its students throughout the year. Members meet weekly with peer mentors and attend monthly events.
“We do a once-a-month transition series event where we focus on skill development for the mentee,” Black said. “The first one will be study skills…the next will focus on diversity. These are opportunities for all of them to come back and reconnect with each other.”
Pool said his favorite part of the program is the community he has found through it.
“That’s what the environment embraces,” he said. “We all want to support and succeed with each other.”