During his first semester of college, Issa already felt like he was two steps behind.
He had a clear vision for his future – major in pre-med before heading to medical school, scrubs and scalpels. Yet he found himself in classes he discovered he did not need, worrying that he had wasted valuable time along his path to his degree, and unsure how to get back on track. As the first one in his family to go to college, Issa turned to his parents for emotional support, but he needed more guidance navigating the college process than they were able to provide.
For Sufia, these setbacks were like déjà vu. She had been in Issa’s shoes only two years earlier, also a first-generation college student struggling through her first semester at Hunter College in New York City. She describes feeling “clueless” about the college process until she began working with a student mentor who could relate to her challenges and offer firsthand perspective.
Entering her junior year, Sufia decided to sign on as a college success coach with Let’s Get Ready, to play the same role for other students from similar backgrounds and communities. The organization pairs freshmen with trained upper-level student coaches to support them through their college experience – harnessing the power of students helping students.
“When I met my coach, Sufia, I was very surprised to find that she was in the same college as me,” Issa said. “She’s a junior, and she’s been through all of this.”
As Issa describes, Sufia’s mentoring helped him break down the complexity of degree requirements, prerequisites, and the unique challenges of being a first-generation college student. With Sufia’s support, he was able to develop a degree plan that fulfills his major requirements – and stay on track to graduate on-time.
Let’s Get Ready aims to provide all students with the support they need to attain a college education. Watch this video to meet Issa and Sufia, and to learn how the model of near-peer mentorship is helping students reach college graduation.