Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Believe UA pairs mentors with struggling students

This fall, the Division of Student Affairs will once again be offering the mentoring program known as Believe UA for students struggling to adjust to the college atmosphere and having trouble keeping up with their classes.

The Believe UA program began fall 2011 with only four mentors and eight mentees. Two years later, the program has grown to more than 40 mentors and close to 100 mentees. The program works to help students boost their confidence inside and outside the classroom.

Believe UA helps students who may be struggling to adjust to college life at the University by partnering themwith an older mentor who can help. The program allows for both mentors and mentees to help each other succeed.

Mentors are typically juniors and seniors in the Honors College. No formal application is needed to apply, and a semester commitment to the program is required. Mentor training focuses on accountability, conflict resolution, effective communication and leadership.

Mentors also enroll in an academic course through the College of Human Environmental Sciences. Many mentors come from referrals from former mentors who had a positive experience with the program.

Tim Hebson, UA dean of students, developed the program with the help of two graduate students, James Gannon and Brandon Pilot.

“The most important thing is helping UA students, one student at a time, graduate and move on with their lives. Last fall, the average mentee increased their GPA by .79, and we saw an increase of .45 on average in the spring,” Hebson said. “Thus, the program definitely has a history of helping students succeed in the classroom.”

Hebson described the mentoring as a one-on-one bond. He said Believe UA has definitely helped the mentees stay in school, when in the past, many would have dropped out.

James Gannon, a graduate assistant who helped develop the program, said he thinks Believe UA is mutually beneficial to all involved.

“The program not only allowed underachieving students to reach their full potential, but it also encouraged me to reach mine,” Gannon said.

Gannon said mentors have the opportunity to make real and lasting impacts on the lives of some of their fellow students.

“The Believe UA program is one of the reasons I can look back on my time at the University with great pride,” Gannon said. “The lives that I saw changed for the better was amazing.”


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