Returning to college after years of absence wasn’t easy, but Corey Robinson believes it was the best move she could have made.Nearing completion of her Associate’s degree in Medical Assisting, Robinson says, “I had no idea what a juggling act it would be. I’d been away from school for so long, I wasn’t sure I even knew how to study anymore.”
Robinson opted to increase her chances of success by joining MCC’s SOAR (Support Options for Achievement and Retention) Program, now in its 26th year. MCC has been fortunate to retain this TRIO Student Support Services program that has provided comprehensive services to first generation college students to promote student retention, graduation and transfer since 1988.
Now in her final semester, she attributes her success in college to the many services offered by the SOAR Program. These include study skills training, learning styles assessment, progress monitoring, academic advising, tutoring, financial literacy, computer assistance, personal counseling, scholarship referral and transfer assistance.
“Besides all the academic support,” said Robinson. “I received thousands of dollars in scholarships I would never have known about, had it not been for my SOAR counselor.”
For Robinson and other participants, the SOAR Program provides comprehensive personalized services delivered by a staff consisting of professional counselors, peer mentors, tutors and faculty advisors who assist students with all aspects of academic and personal development.
“Understanding my learning style had a huge impact on my studying and showed me how to approach learning in the most efficient way,” said Robinson. “I found out I was an auditory learner and SOAR loaned me a digital recorder so I could record my lectures. Tutoring services helped me find out about online resources and gave me a sense of relief knowing that there was someone to go to when I had questions.”
Robinson found that attending college full-time was both rewarding and stressful.
“As a wife and mother, I had to learn to manage my time, handle multiple assignments, and study constantly, all while taking care of myself and my family,” said Robinson. “I wanted to do my best in all my classes. My SOAR counselor provided moral support and encouragement, found tutors for some of my tougher classes, put me in touch with campus resources and was always there to answer questions. The confidence I gained led me to become more actively involved in the college and even seek leadership opportunities.”
Robinson joined the Student Government Association (SGA), served as Treasurer, Vice-President and is now the SGA President. She also finds time in her final semester to work for the SOAR Program as a tutor and peer mentor.
In addition to helping with two-year degree seeking students, SOAR offers assistance to students planning to transfer to universities. Transfer students benefit from individualized assistance with course selection, preparing for transfer, filling out college applications and guided tours of prospective campuses.
Robinson’s advice to students is, “It’s important to ask for help. Joining the SOAR Program is the best way to be sure you get everything you need. Don’t think you have to do it all by yourself. Learning is a collaborative effort, not a solo act.”
For more information on the SOAR Program at Mayland Community College visit www.mayland.edu or call 828-766-1263.