New mentoring program helps students transition into college life

Westminster's coaching and mentoring program tries to help first-year students feel more engaged with their community. The program starts Sept. 29 and lasts throughout the year.  Photos courtesy of the Westminster Coaching and Mentoring Program

Westminster's coaching and mentoring program tries to help first-year students feel more engaged with their community. The program starts Sept. 29 and lasts throughout the year.  Photos courtesy of the Westminster Coaching and Mentoring Program

It can be difficult for incoming first-year students to feel engaged and understand the ins and outs of college beyond academics. It can get tricky navigating new relationships and the nuances of college life.

It is sometimes challenging to meet new friends. It can be an awkward period in one’s life moving from high school to college. Fortunately, Westminster has created the mentoring and coaching program to help first-year students feel more a part of their new community.

“WCME” stands for Westminster Coaching and Mentoring Experience. The program is designed to be ongoing to serve first-year students to retired alumni. Individuals can participate as being a mentor and a mentee, creating a lasting Westminster experience.

The Student Mentoring Program is a one-year program specifically designed to provide first-year students with student mentors.  

The mentor program bridges first-year students to the college lifestyle. The program is an opportunity for first-year students to make new friends and explore new activities on campus.

The mentor program bridges first-year students to the college lifestyle. The program is an opportunity for first-year students to make new friends and explore new activities on campus.

Annalisa Holcombe, vice president of college relations and strategy, said these mentors are “not a RA, not a tutor in one of your classes, but just another person to talk to and help engage you with life on campus.”

This idea began last year in an effort to help students feel more connected with their peers. This year’s program will begin Sept. 29 with 11 mentors.

“A mentor will provide guidance and support for their mentees as they navigate through newfound residential, academic, and social lives as college freshman,” Holcombe said.  “If you are uncomfortable at a party, you have a person to call and you will not be judged. They will just come and pick you up.”

These mentors are meant to be friends that can help with adjusting to college, assist with meeting different groups and introducing students to activities.

Mentors are part of many different groups at Westminster. For example, one might be involved with sports and another might be part of student government. So, no matter the question, there will be someone to help.

First-year students can get involved in a number of ways. All of the mentors and their bios are listed on Westminster’s website. The idea is that this is a person to talk with when questions arise that can’t be answered by simply going online.

In addition to the first-year students program, the coaching and mentoring centers offer seniors a chance to receive advice from alumni the same way that incoming students get help from their mentors.

Holcombe gathered a group of recently graduated seniors and asked what their biggest concerns were and questions they might have about life after graduation. To her surprise, the seniors weren’t interested in applying for graduate school or writing cover letters, but more interested in lifestyle changes.

The alumni helped students with budgeting, making car payments, getting a cell phone plan and everyday needs associated with moving on from college.

In addition to these two programs, the coaching and mentoring center helps all Westminster students feel more comfortable. All of this information can be found on Westminster’s website.