By Matthew Waldrep
For first-generation college students, knowing how make the most of their time at GRCC and properly prepare for the transfer to a university can often times prove challenging.
“TRiO Student Support Services Program might be the best kept secret at GRCC,” TRiO Director Whitney Harper said.
TRiO is a federally funded program that specializes in guiding first-gen students down the right path for transferring.
Students seeking guidance are often tossed from one counselor to another, trying to make sense of the task of choosing the necessary classes to take for transfer eligibility.
First-generation students are students whose parents have not received a four-year degree. This can often mean the nature of college will prove challenging for them.
First-generation students have a lower retention rate and higher drop-out rate according to Harper.
When asked why students really need this program, Harper said, “Our stats speak for ourselves, 89% of the students in our program transfer or graduate and 95% are in good academic standing.”
For first-generation students that meet their criteria, TRiO gives advantages that other programs don’t offer.
TRiO assigns students one academic advisor for their time at GRCC, eliminating the hassle of walk-in appointments with counselors.
TRiO also gives students the chance for community involvement through monthly volunteer opportunities which are excellent for building a resume and preparing for a transfer.
Another hidden advantage of TRiO is that students who are in the program receive priority enrollment. They are able to enroll in classes upon the earliest enrollment date regardless of credit earnings.
As well as offering aid and advantages to first-generation students, students who have been in the program for at least one year are eligible for employment with TRiO. Peer Mentors are employed positions through TRIO that serve to further aid students involved in the program.
Students interested in applying for the TRiO program must meet the income requirements and be first generation students that are willing to transfer. TRiO at GRCC offers has a cap of 350 students and will have an opening of 150 for the coming semester.
For more information on TRiO Student Support Services visit cms.grcc.edu/sss.