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The outstanding results of the First Year Scholars (FYS) and Future Young Professionals (FYP) program last year have earned the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh a College Success Continuation Grant from the Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation.

For the 2014-2015 academic year, a $183,300 grant will provide students with academic advising, tutoring, peer mentoring and knowledge of campus resources to help each student succeed during the academic year. These services are proven to help students stay on track to graduate.

UW Oshkosh was one of 16 organizations invited by Great Lakes to assist students in strengthening connections to their campus, peers, faculty and staff. The FYS and FYP program assists traditionally underserved students; including students of color, students whose families have limited-income and students who are first-generation college (parents have not earned a four year degree). The mission of the program is to offer these students personal support and academic guidance to help them transition into college with ease and success.

“Moving students toward greater opportunity in life benefits us all,” said Richard D. George, Great Lakes’ president and chief executive officer. “We fund programs that understand the root cause of what holds students back, and take bold steps to overcome these obstacles. We look forward to seeing the impact the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh First Year Scholars and Future Young Professionals program can have on helping more students graduate and achieve their full potential.”

As the FYS program enters its third year, and the FYP program its second, Emmy Marvin, FYS and FYP academic adviser said: “Our main priority with the FYS/FYP program is focused on the overall academic, professional and personal success of our students. While we place a high value on the scholarly achievements of our students, we are also very cognizant to work on their personal and professional development as well. With the help of funds from Great Lakes, our students have access to the tools, resources, guidance and mentoring they need to become successful college students.”

“As an FYS member, I learned skills and tips that helped not only in my first year, but will continue to help in future years, ” said a student who participated in FYS during the 2013-14 year stated:

FYS was founded in 2012 and FYP was founded in 2013 under the Division for Academic Support of Inclusive Excellence. The program serves 125 students, 100 first-year students and 25 second-year students. FYS and FYP students meet with an academic adviser a minimum of four times throughout the year. These meetings cover topics such as course selection, referral to campus resources, career and major exploration, personal support, funding a college education and life skills development.

FYS students attend weekly learning group sessions acquiring information that will aid in their personal and professional development (i.e. study skills, test-taking strategies, résumé development, professional communication skills, etc.).  Approximately 20 FYS students are assigned to each group.  The groups are led by two upper-class students who also serve as peer mentors to the FYS students.

FYP students enroll in a one-credit professional skills course during their first semester. Students in the class participate in mock interviews, a Dining with Professionals event, campus career fair and start to develop professional networks. The students also learn how to construct a résumé, cover letter, business card, electronic portfolio and their LinkedIn profile. During their second semester, the students participate in job shadowing opportunities.

At the end of each semester, FYS and FYP students who complete all program requirements receive a book stipend of $200 to use for the following semester.

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