MC launches TRIO program, now accepting applications from current students
Dr. Sylvia Turner is looking forward to all of the 20+ Spring Semester workshops planned for students accepted into Maryville College’s TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) program, but she’s most excited for the orientation workshops scheduled for this month and next.
“These initial workshops will be the first time we meet with the students as a group and mark the real launch of this important program,” said Turner, who recently joined the Maryville College faculty as the TRIO Student Support Services project director. “This year has been uncertain and challenging in many ways, so I am looking forward to having conversations with students about their hopes and dreams for the future.”
The College learned in August that it had been approved for a five-year, $1.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to establish the TRIO program. Designed to help students succeed and graduate from MC through academic assistance, financial aid and career/professional preparation, TRIO is available to students who already receive need-based financial aid, are first-generation college students and/or have documented disabilities.
“TRIO SSS has a national reputation for helping students navigate their educational experiences to achieve their academic goals,” Turner said. “Program participation has resulted in statistically significant higher rates of student retention, grade point average and degree completion.”
Student Support Services began in 1968 and is one of the eight federal “TRIO” programs authorized by the Higher Education Act to help college students succeed in higher education. Today, more than 800,000 low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities — from sixth grade through college graduation — are served by more than 3,100 programs nationally.
Applications still accepted
Since her arrival on campus Nov. 18, Turner has been recruiting current MC students for the program. The grant requires support of 140 students, and more than half of that number has already applied. Offers have not yet been extended, but Turner said she expects to start the selection process soon.
“Applications continue to come in, and we’re encouraged by the response to our initial outreach to students,” she said. “Even if students have questions about their eligibility, they should go ahead and apply through the College’s website or they can email me directly. Participating in the program could make a huge difference in their lives, and we want to give students an opportunity to do so.”
Leadership is key feature
A centerpiece of the TRIO program is the Flight School Leadership program, which participants are required to complete. It includes academic coaching; peer mentoring; a high-impact practice such as research, service-learning or an international experience; and a student presentation.
“Our program will help connect students to research, international experiences and service-learning opportunities, which will increase student engagement on campus and in the broader community,” Turner said. “We know that this type of engagement boosts students’ GPAs, increases retention and graduation rates. In addition, students gain the social and cultural capital necessary for the next stage of their academic or professional careers.”
Students meet individually with program staff for academic and career planning, as well as attend study sessions, one-on-one mentoring, career counseling and social and cultural activities.
Topical workshops start early
Workshops are another significant opportunity for TRIO participants. Held virtually this semester, the workshops focus on academic success strategies, professional development and financial literacy and will begin before the official start of the Spring 2021 Semester. Topics include:
- Stress Management/COVID with Reflection (Jan. 12, Jan. 14, Jan. 27)
- Test Taking Skills (Feb. 2, Feb. 3)
- Professional Communication (Feb. 9, Feb. 11)
- Understanding Your Financial Aid (Week of Feb. 15)
- Financial Literacy: Managing Your Finances (Week of Feb. 15)
- Resume-Building and Writing (March 3, March 4)
- Time Management Skills (March 16, March 17)
- Professional Etiquette (March 24)
- Coping with Finals (April 13, April 14, April 15)
“This is a comprehensive program,” Turner explained. “While our primary goal is to provide the academic support that will help students succeed and graduate from Maryville College, we also know the importance of providing culturally-relevant programming and opportunities for social engagement that will help us create a tight-knit community and a dynamic learning environment in which the students thrive and achieve their academic and career goals.”