NevadaFIT, the University of Nevada, Reno's premiere academic preparation program for incoming freshmen students, kicks off Sunday with an opening ceremony and parents' workshop. The program, which stands for "freshman intensive transition," gives freshmen a five-day crash course on the rigors of college academics. It spans all eight colleges and more than 40 majors across the University.
NevadaFIT began in 2013 as BioFIT, a program geared toward incoming biology majors, with 48 students participating. In 2014, the program was expanded to include 350 students in all eight colleges with varied majors. Each year the program has grown in attendance and this year it will welcome the largest NevadaFIT class to date with more than 1,000 students.
Much of this growth is attributed to the College of Science, the first college at the University to make the program mandatory for incoming students.
"The FIT program simulates each student's fall semester class work, while directly exposing them to the support services provided by the University, without the risk of failure," Jeff Thompson, dean of the College of Science, said. "The program prepares the students for everything from faculty course expectations to time management and developing study groups. Student retention, number of class credits and a higher grade point average are all key indicators for the program's success."
Typically presented to students in the sciences, NevadaFIT, modeled after Louisiana State University's BIOS program, is the first known intensive introduction that has moved beyond the sciences in the country. Although, true to its origins, the program remains anchored in mathematics. Students in most disciplines will attend daily math classes that relate to their field of study. This stems from research that has shown students who are successful in math are more likely to graduate within their chosen majors.
"College is not an extension of high school; it's not grade 13," Kevin Carman, executive vice president and provost for the University, said. "Students learn the value of going to class, sitting up front, how to study with other students and how to make effective use of resources like the writing and math centers."
The program is open to all registered freshmen, regardless of grade-point average. This year is the first year NevadaFIT counts as a course credit. Participants are grouped in "packs" of six students led by a peer mentor and many of these peer mentors have participated in past boot camps.
Mohamad Arman Sayafi, a senior biology major at the University said what most surprised him about the program was the number of resources available to students.
"I really enjoyed the team approach to furthering my academic career, and as a result I decided to become a Pack Mentor," Arman Sayafi said. "My advice to new students is to not let NevadaFIT be a wasted opportunity. Now is a great time for them to identify with their weaknesses and strengths, thoughts and actions, and physical as well as emotional/mental health. College is tough, but NevadaFIT teaches you how to manage it responsibly."
Course fees are used to pay student mentors. Funds were also raised to offer scholarships to students who might not otherwise be able to afford attending NevadaFIT.
"Thanks to the generosity of our donors, students who qualify have their full NevadaFIT attendance paid," Carman said. "We work hard to make sure any student who has financial need will be able to attend."
To learn more about NevadaFIT, visit the NevadaFIT website.