NevadaFIT, the University of Nevada, Reno's premiere academic preparation program for incoming freshmen students, begins Saturday, Aug. 18, with a kick-off 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 1,700 students, almost half of the incoming freshman class.
"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 FIT programs or "camps" include BizFIT (College of Business), E-FIT (College of Engineering), LiberalArtsFIT (College of Liberal Arts), FIT2Care (College of Education), HealthFIT (College of Health Science), J-FIT (Reynolds School of Journalism), CABNRFIT (College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources), and ScienceFIT (College of Science).
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. This year, Fit2Care, the College of Education program, has joined the College of Science and CABNR in making the program mandatory for all students, and every major from every college can now participate. More student on campus earlier means more logistics and planning, so LiberalArtsFIT hired a FIT coordinator for their program this year, and other camps are starting to follow that lead.
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.
The program is open to all registered freshmen, regardless of grade-point average. This is the third year NevadaFIT has counted 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.
Sarah Smith, a junior political science and international affairs major, attended NevadaFIT as a participant in 2016, was a mentor in 2017, and is returning as a mentor for NevadaFIT 2018. She will be the 2018 featured student speaker at the kick-off ceremony Saturday evening.
"I participated in PsychFIT, which has now evolved into LiberalArtsFIT," Smith said in an NSights Blog for the University. "Before leaving for NevadaFIT, I was so incredibly nervous, however, once NevadaFIT started, I didn't have time to be nervous. I was so overwhelmed and so busy the entire week, but that busy week led me to be able to be ready and to feel prepared to take on my classes."
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 to attend 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."
Every boot camp in last year's program saw higher GPAs in NevadaFIT participants, .13 average increase in GPA during the first semester, compared to the students in their major who did not participate. The program also yields a plus-seven percent increase in a one-year, enrollment retention rate.
University freshmen and their families are encouraged to join the NevadaFIT conversations online by using the hashtags #NevadaFIT and #PackPride.
Highlighted events and activities
Saturday, Aug. 18
- 9 a.m.-3 p.m.: NevadaFIT Residence Hall Check-in
Participating NevadaFIT students will move into their assigned residence halls at their assigned times.
- 6 p.m.: Students march to Lawlor for NevadaFIT Kick-Off Ceremony, Lawlor Events Center
- 7 p.m.: Parent info session, Lawlor Events Center
- 7 p.m., Student dinner, Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center lawn
Sunday, Aug. 19
- 7 a.m.: Breakfast at the Down Under Café
- 8 a.m.: Students attend first class
- 2:15-3 p.m., HealthFIT Faculty Panel, Edmund J. Cain Hall, Room 103
Tuesday, Aug. 21
- 8:15-9 a.m.: LiberalArtsFIT Meditation Walk with Dean Moddelmog, historic Quad
- 2:15-3:15 p.m.: FIT2Care Self-Care Workshop, Scrugham Engineering and Mines, Room 101
- 7:15-8 p.m.: CABNRFIT Beef Test Panel and Mentor Activity, Fleischmann Agriculture quad
Wednesday, Aug. 22
- 3:30-6 p.m.: BIZ-FIT Presentations, Joe Crowley Student Union Theatre, Third Floor
- 7 p.m.: ScienceFIT Discover Science lecture from guest speaker Jaime Casap, Davidson Mathematics and Science Center, Room 110
Thursday, Aug. 23
- 10:15-11 a.m.: E-FIT Trebuchet Launch, Manzanita Bowl
It may look like medieval warfare near the south entrance to campus Thursday morning, but incoming freshmen will be testing trebuchets they design and build as part of engineering portion of NevadaFIT.
Students will celebrate the end of NevadaFIT with closing events hosted by each camp in various locations across campus.