FGS Success 2Ensuring Success for First-Generation Students:Providing Mentorship Through FYSMThe Issue
Overview of Issue
First-generation college students face many unique challenges as they transition to theuniversity environment. Because of the distinct perspective these students bring to the universityculture, their retention is vital. Universities must be prepared to offer resources and support thatcater to the specific challenges these students face. It is not only important to equip them for academic success, but for social survival in an environment for which they likely have littlecontext.In this report, we analyze the research about the experiences of first-generation studentsand introduce an intervention we believe will successfully address the identified issues. We baseour program, FYSM (First Year Student Mentors), on successful mentorship models, rooted indevelopmental theory.
The intervention takes place at Iowa State University, a large public land grant institutionin the Midwest, currently enrolling over 26,000 students. Despite the fact that the number of open-option first generation students fluctuates from year to year, they are an important population of students who need extra support to succeed. As each week focuses on a differentarea of student affairs, students would experience a variety of different programs, taking part inmany academic and social events. Student organizations, academic success center, financial aidoffice, and the writing lab will be a few of the areas included in this program. Student affairs professionals will provide support throughout the semester, with the possibility of directly