A mentoring collaboration programme is helping to enable a smooth transition for students to tertiary education at Åtautahi Christchurch’s Linwood College.
The pilot initiative, delivered via the Akiaki Äkonga | Student Experience team, was launched in term three of the 2020 school year as part of UC’s Pathways to Tertiary programme.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic | Tumu Tuarua Akoranga Professor Catherine Moran says the aim of the programme is to widen secondary school students’ understanding of tertiary opportunities, and help raise representation in tertiary education of students from low-decile schools.
“The role of the UC student Transition Mentor is to connect with secondary students to inspire them to achieve their academic potential and give them the confidence to enter tertiary study. Transition Mentors serve as positive role models providing encouragement, guidance and support to help these students address barriers and achieve educational and vocational success,” she explains.
A group of 30 Linwood students were matched with 16 UC Transition Mentors. Students met with Mentors fortnightly, with Year 13 students also attending motivational talks by Linwood alumni and UC staff, with a focus on personal growth.
Linwood College Teacher in Charge of Enrichment Charlotte Cottrell says students were nominated by staff based on their current academic achievements, and their potential to achieve at a higher level if given extra support.
“Our students have learned more about what it is to be a student at university from course planning, deadlines, the student association, health services, and support with learning. Our students have enjoyed making a connection at the University, hearing from someone just a few years older, and are now feeling positive and excited about their future and the possibilities. The Transition Mentors are an exceptional group of UC students with a range of academic skills, interests and backgrounds.”
The pilot programme was fronted each week by UC Student Experience Advisor and Linwood College alumnus and past Head Boy Jarred Skelton, with current Linwood College Head Boy Mario Cvetkoski also attending the programme.
With plans to study Industrial Product Design at UC, Mario says he found the programme “incredibly beneficial”.
“Before the programme university seemed quite confusing and mysterious, but the Mentors cleared all my worries – from how the courses are structured to what is offered on campus, all of my questions were answered. All of the other students have loved the programme and found it incredibly useful in navigating the stressful transition from secondary education into tertiary education.”
Due to the success of the pilot initiative, there are plans to offer the programme to more secondary schools, and extend the programme to two terms.