TCU students create a mentorship program for Paschal seniors.

Four TCU students are coming together to create a mentorship program called “The Link” for high school seniors transitioning into college.

The Link will partner a TCU student with a R.L. Paschal High School senior to discuss fears or concerns they may have about college.

“Its about having a person to talk to about stuff that you are nervous about,” junior supply and value chain major Anika Sutter said. “Like problems with your roommate or time management. College is so different from high school, and we’re helping to make it easier in anyway that we can.”

This program is a part of he BNSF Next Generation Leadership Program’s impact project. The impact project allows students in the program to target an issue that they are passionate about and assess it in hopes to make a difference.

Gregory Stephens, academic director of the BNSF Next Generation Leadership Program, said he gives his students two criteria when completing this project:

  1.     To do something that will help the world get better in some way
  2.     To exercise and demonstrate their ability to use leadership skills

“I want them to feel that deep need to help the world become a better place,” Stephens said. “That’s a big part of what they get out of this project.”

Juniors Anika Sutter, Sarah Diver, Sam Baxter and Annie Andonie said for their project they want to address the transition period from high school to college and the return rate for second year students.

“This is the first time most people live without their parents, and it is a bit of a change,” Diver said. “We want these students to leave our program feeling really prepared for their first year and know what to do when they are faced with problems.”

According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, the overall retention rate over the past few years for first year students has been around 58 percent.

“I feel like that [first year students dropping out of college] is an issue for a lot of people, and so we started to think about ways that we could make that transition easier from high school to college,” Sutter said. “We thought what better way than to connect with students who dealt with that transition within the last couple of years.”

Sutter, Diver, Baxter and Andonie have been working hard to plan this program since the beginning of the semester, planning out the logistics and researching common issues that can be brought up during their meetings with the mentees.

Mentees from Paschal will be chosen by their principal, Dr. Terri Mossige, and applications are available for all TCU students who wish to be mentors.

The Link will begin in March of 2016. Students who are interested in becoming a mentor should contact Anika Sutter at [email protected].


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Jessica Ranck is a junior journalism major from San Diego, California. She currently serves as the Greeks/SGA/SDS editor for TCU 360.