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NevadaFit: Mentors provide tips for success for 2,600 participants

NevadaFit 2019 will feature the program's largest cohort ever

On Aug. 17, the University will welcome 2,600 incoming freshmen for NevadaFIT, almost two-thirds of the incoming freshman class. With participants displaying increases in both retention and GPA across all colleges, the University has made this program available to more students each year since its inception in 2013. Five out of eight colleges now require this one-credit course, making this year's cohort the largest in the program's history.

"FIT" stands for "Freshman Intensive Transition," with the goal of making the transition from high school to college as seamless as possible. NevadaFIT participants are immersed in the college academic experience. Students attend lectures, are assigned homework, take exams, and receive feedback on their progress. Participants also attend skill sessions where they learn tools to be successful college students such as note-taking, mindfulness, study techniques, and financial literacy. Students work in groups of seven called "Packs" with an upperclassmen mentor who is there to offer advice and lead study sessions.

NevadaFIT will employ almost 400 students to serve in this mentor role during this year's program. Taylor Chase and Connor Bishop are past participants now mentors, whose reflection on the program displays its impact on students. Here are some of their thoughts, in their own words, about the program.

Taylor Chase, Senior, Psychology and French Major

"Coming out of high school, I knew that Psychology was something I wanted to pursue. I had taken the AP class and knew that somewhere in the realms of research and the study of behavior, there was a place for me. Learning that PsychFIT (LiberalArtsFIT) gave me the chance to meet the department's faculty and start school a week early told me that NevadaFIT was something I had to do.

"Coming into NevadaFIT as a participant I felt nervous. My home has always been Reno. I grew up going to Nevada football games and playing at the river during summers. But moving into the dorms and suddenly having the freedom away from my parents and to be whoever I wanted was terrifying. The most difficult part of NevadaFIT for me was standing up to the unknown. I didn't know where anything was on campus, and I certainly didn't know what APA style was when I was told I had to write a research paper. NevadaFIT threw me out of my comfort zone and had me face new challenges.

"My advice to NevadaFIT 2019 participants is to make the most of it. You will be attending so many lectures and skill sessions, but every single one of them is worthwhile. If you aren't participating and challenging yourself, you won't truly get the NevadaFIT experience."

Connor Bishop, Senior, Marketing and Management Major

"When I showed up to campus on day one of NevadaFIT, I was not very prepared. I had been traveling a lot over the summer and living a vacation lifestyle. I had not mentally prepared for college yet and truthfully underestimated how big of a transition it would be. My mentor was friendly and confident that my Pack would do well that week. This inspired me to want to be a mentor.

"I am about to start my third year as a mentor for NevadaFIT 2019. At the end of the program, when it's all over and you finally get to relax you will reflect on all of the knowledge you gained, and thank your mentor for being there along the way with you, encouraging you, and teaching you all of their college secrets that may have taken them years to figure out. Your mentor should act as your personal tour guide in this foreign environment.

"My advice to parents of a NevadaFIT participant is to not be selfish. Do not expect your student's routine to be the same as high school. Students that sign up for NevadaFIT will experience the most intense school week of their lives. Give your child room to grow and they will surely surprise you with how great they can become."

Felicia DeWald head shot
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