Intensive learning, peer mentorship and personal guidance from faculty and staff are the pillars of the College of Saint Elizabeth’s FASTRAK program. Comparable to an educational boot camp, FASTRAK begins prior to formal orientation and aims to better prepare freshmen for the rigors of college. With a 75% retention rate within the program, it clearly works.
“Attending college is a significant transition for many students and the more support they can receive before courses and assignments become too overwhelming, the more likely they are to succeed,” explains Dr. Monique Guillory, vice president for academic affairs.
FASTRAK has no cost to the student and results in four elective credits upon competition. Participants who show promise for academic success are chosen from the pool of accepted students. This year, CSE welcomed 47 freshmen FASTRAK students, a 17% increase from last year.
“Being required to put your phone away and actually hit the books taught me a lot about time management,” says Yaw Aning of Newark. “When you work hard then you can really see the results.”
In addition to learning vital study skills, FASTRAK allows students to develop interpersonal relationships geared toward success.
“This is the first year that we had a peer mentorship program within FASTRAK,” says Lynne McEniry, director of FASTRAK. “These peer mentors will receive training and support as they spend time studying, attending CSE events, and orienting the students to all aspects of being a CSE student.”
FASTRAK team leader, Abigail Bateau, ’21, deeply believes in the value of peer mentorship.
“I was able to motivate the students by telling them about my story with FASTRAK – how it impacted me and how it could impact them. Being a mentor also makes you a better student because you’re a role model to them. The students have worked so hard and grown so much in these two weeks. I couldn’t be prouder.”
Mary Colleen Robinson has a communication degree with a concentration in journalism and is currently working as the PR/Social Media Specialist at the College of Saint Elizabeth.