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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. That’s why the College has a trusted system to help students adjust to their first couple semesters of college (and beyond).

The Circle of Success is a network of Saint Rose community members assigned to help first-year students, comprising a faculty advisor, an academic advisor, a peer resource, the financial aid team, and the Golden Knights Guide program — each person or group of people has a role to play in helping students acclimate and find their footing at Saint Rose. Recently, the College added an online component to this network called Navigate, an app that supports a student’s academic and financial experiences.

We recently caught up with Associate Vice President for Student Development Jennifer Richardson to better understand how these services 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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The Office of Financial Aid 

The financial aid team is 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, financial aid counselors are master problem solvers. “Our counselors are here to listen to students’ changing financial needs and always have their best interest at heart,” said Richardson.



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 full 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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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 through 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.


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Golden Knight Guide Program

Over the years, the Golden Knights Guide Program has evolved from a one-on-one mentorship program to a community affair. Instead of assigning a student a mentor, Saint Rose will hold events throughout the year where students can interact with various community members. The hope is that students will form connections naturally that will blossom into a mentor-mentee relationship. “In addition, we plan to do outreach to the new students multiple times per semester through some targeted phone-a-thons to check-in and ensure they have the appropriate resources they need,” said Richardson.

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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