Watch Now: Millikin University’s EDGE Program Helps Students Get Started on the Right Foot | Education

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DECATUR – Anna Wegrzyn doesn’t know why she was chosen to participate in Millikin University’s Excellence Developed through Growth and Experience (EDGE) program, but she finds it a great help in adjusting to university life.

“I took a few years off,” said Wegrzyn, who plans to specialize in film production. “It helped me get back into the mix. The first day was a little stressful just because there was so much (to absorb), but it’s pretty good now.

EDGE is offered to freshmen who are first generation college students or whose circumstances might otherwise make adapting to college a little more difficult, and provides them with mentors who can show them the ropes, answer their questions. questions, direct them to on-campus services such as tutoring, and be available to be their friends during the first few months of their university life.

“I’m just trying to start everything early, because I’m a first generation (student),” said Dailen Loveless. His questions mostly relate to time management and the way things work on campus, he said.

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Carrie Pierson, senior director of the Center for Academic and Professional Performance at Millikin University, interacts with new freshmen who are participating in the EDGE program on Wednesday. The program helps first generation students adjust to campus life. Visit herald-review.com to see a video about the program.


CLAY JACKSON, HERALD & REVIEW


EDGE students arrive on campus early, before class starts, and take classes in good study habits, get to know each other, tour campus to find out where everything is and settle down. Many mentors have taken the EDGE program themselves and remember the questions they had.

“They will take classes to prepare for college, and we will make sure they attend study tables and do things to prepare themselves a little better,” said senior mentor Kari Roemer, a student in medical care. “I help them if they are having difficulty and I make sure that everything is going well and that they are feeling good, mentally, academically and in every way.”

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His advice to these students is to do their best and not to get overwhelmed. Many of them, she said, are reluctant to ask for help, and the role of their mentors is to assure them that every student on campus needs help with something. They are not alone.

Mentor Ashley Estrada makes sure her mentees know they can call her any time of the day or night if they need anything.

“My phone is open 24/7,” she said. The first year of college can be tough, and having that friend who’s been through it makes all the difference, she added.

Patrick Cooper is a soccer player, and he said it’s easy for athletes, in particular, to focus on the sport so much that they neglect their studies or don’t know how to manage their time. The EDGE program helped him learn these skills as a freshman, and he wanted to pass them on to others.

Future teacher Linnea Nordstrom was not an EDGE student when she was in her first year.

“Because I’m getting into the education business, it seemed like a really good thing to get involved,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity for me to help. students, build those relationships and be a support system to get them where they need to be. ”

Next year Gary Cecil will take over the program from Carrie Pierson, who oversaw it for several years. Her main goal now, as a Student Success Coach, is to find students who need a little extra help and support and make sure they have it.

“They come to me to get help with a document, on how to talk to teachers, they may not understand some things and need tutors,” he said. “I direct them to how they can find these resources. I’m also available to talk about anything that may affect them outside of school, whether it’s their personal life or the transition from college to high school and anything that goes in that direction.

Contact Valerie Wells at (217) 421-7982. Follow her on Twitter: @modgirlreporter


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