New coaching program builds confidence in students

December 13, 2012 10:00 AM

Alicia Duplessis Jasmin

Help is available for struggling students as well as those who excel with a goal to do even better. The assistance is part of the Tulane Success Coaching Program under the leadership of Michele Oelking, assistant director of academic advising for special populations.


Michele Oelking, assistant director of academic advising for special populations, leads professional success coaches who help students transitioning from high school to college. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)

Coaching began in January of 2012 and involves one-on-one meetings either weekly, biweekly or monthly. Since the program’s inception, Oelking says her team of professional coaches and students trained as peer educators has met with more than 600 Tulane students to date.

"We first determine whether it’s more suitable for a student to meet with a professional staff member or a peer," says Oelking of the free service. “Our professional coaches have advanced degrees and coach-specific training. Alternatively, students can meet with peer educators as needed, and those meetings can take place at locations around campus or during extended hours.”

To gain access to success coaching, students must either apply or be nominated by a parent, faculty member, academic advisor, or other Tulane staff.

Oelking says the success of the coaching program falls equally on the student and the coach. Students who receive the greatest benefit are those who commit to regular meetings and fully engage in the process.

Through a tri-focal emphasis on academics, career and personal success, coaches and peer educators aim to help students through the transition from high school to college.

“Our peer educators have a diverse set of skills and experiences,” says Oelking. “They are a high-achieving group with an average GPA of 3.7 and a broad range of academic majors."

Peer educators provide supplemental instruction and assistance with improving academic skills and personal development. They also conduct workshops and presentations.

Students are accepted to the program on a rolling basis throughout the semester, Oelking says, but she prefers that students begin the program at the start of the semester.

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Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000