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Bringing It Home – The Saint Rose Blog

A First-Year Student’s Guide to Success This Fall


At Saint Rose, we understand that your first year at college is a huge transition. For some students, it is their first time living independently and managing an academic schedule on their own. In the age of the global pandemic, this pressure can feel that much more overwhelming — we understand. No matter what the world looks like this fall, Saint Rose has a trusted system it has developed over the years to help students adjust to their first couple semesters of college (and beyond).

The Circle of Success is a personalized network of Saint Rose community members assigned to first-year students, comprising a faculty advisor, an academic advisor, a financial aid advisor, a Golden Knights guide, and a peer resource — that’s five people acting as each student’s personal mentors and cheerleaders. Recently, the College added an online component to this network called Navigate, an app that supports a student’s academic and financial experiences.

Dr. Shai Butler, vice president for student development and chief diversity officer, and Jennifer Richardson, assistant vice president for student development, have explained these services and how they can help incoming students become the best version of themselves:

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Navigate is an online application that helps the Office of Student Development better manage a student’s success at Saint Rose. The goal is to never let a student fall so far behind academically or financially that it will become too burdensome for them to catch up or get ahead. Navigate also serves as a tool for students to connect with peers in their major, form study groups, or get reminders about an existing bill or overdue library book (we’ve all been there). 


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Financial Aid Advisor

Financial aid advisors are a student’s first point of contact with The Circle of Success (incoming students have probably heard of the Financial Aid King by now). In addition to helping students understand the financial aid process, advisors are master problem solvers. “Our advisors are here to listen to students’ changing financial needs and always have their best interest at heart,” said Butler.



Academic Advisors

Next up are academic advisors, whom students meet at Saint Rose’s pre-orientation STAR Day to review their academic schedules and make sure everything feels right for the start of classes. Academic advisors also help students understand the support services available to them, such as the Writing Center or tutoring services. Think of them as an academic lifeline — helping students reach their fullest potential.


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Faculty Advisors

Students are introduced to their faculty advisors at the start of the fall semester and meet with them on Advisement Day (no classes are held on this day, which is set aside just for such meetings). These advisors are typically a faculty member in the student’s program or school who helps them assess their progress and register for classes. “They are a guidepost to a student’s college degree, helping them create a pathway to graduation,” Richardson said.


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Golden Knight Guides

“Students can think of their Golden Knight Guide (GKG) as a professional mentor, helping them navigate new challenges and opportunities that College often brings,” Butler said. The Golden Knight Guide is a Saint Rose community member who is excited to volunteer their time to help encourage or support students. GKGs will reach out to their mentees over the summer before school begins. Students can also reach out to their GKGs at any time to ask questions, chat about their experience, and gain valuable advice. 


illustration of an RA dorm room


Peer Resources

Looking to connect with a current student? The Circle of Success includes a peer resource designed to help students adjust to living on campus or commuting. For students living in dorm rooms, their peer resource is their resident assistant (RA). RAs meet with students as soon as they move in and are there for them throughout residence-hall activities, roommate disagreements, and more. “They will become a student’s confidant — someone they can trust to help them get through the good times and challenging times of living independently,” Richardson said. “And, there will be more good times than struggles.”

A commuter assistant helps commuter students stay connected to campus. Students meet them at our Welcome Convocation, which is held after orientation. “They are there to help them find fun events and activities to join, and answer any questions they have about student life and student services,” Richardson said.

Between The Circle of Success and Navigate, we’re confident our incoming first-year students will have a fulfilling start to their college careers at Saint Rose. This network will become a valuable resource for students even after they finish their first year at Saint Rose.

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