Sophomore slump? The Butler Center’s SAIL Mentoring Program promises a revitalizing sophomore year of college.
The Sophomore Advanced Initiative for Leadership (SAIL) Mentoring Program began in 2015. SAIL was born out of a universal desire at CC for increased peer mentorship, especially for sophomore students.
According to Liliana Delman, the Coordinator of Mentoring and Diversity Initiatives at the Butler Center, sophomore year is typically a crucial time for discovering one’s social identity and establishing a foundation for the final two years of college. As classes become increasingly difficult, national statistics show that the most dropouts and transfers occur during sophomore year of college. Unlike the first year of college, when students are supported through multiple transitionary programs such as New Student Orientation, Bridge Scholars, or Global Scholars Program, sophomore year feels as if “the rug has been pulled out from underneath your feet.”
In the SAIL program, one or two sophomore students are paired with one junior or senior peer leader. Each first Thursday, the Butler Center conducts SAIL Gatherings, in which the entire SAIL program comes together to listen to a guest speaker from CC offices such as the Career Center, the Wellness Resource Center, the Butler Center, or the Colkett Learning Center. These guest speakers conduct resume workshops and help students plan their remaining years at CC by providing tips on stress management and financing one’s study abroad experience.
Moreover, sophomore students spend a minimum of one hour per block with their peer leaders and also meet blockly with Delman for an advising session. Delman practices “holistic advising,” meaning that beyond discussing academics and career plans, she converses about mental, social, and emotional health.
According to the Butler Center website, sophomore students in SAIL are supported in these seven areas:
1. Academic success (advising, time management, plan of study)
2. Career readiness (resumes/cover letters, internship & job search, goal attainment)
3. Study abroad (access to information on off-campus learning and funding travel)
4. Self-knowledge (social identity development, wellness strategies, reflection)
5. Interpersonal development (leadership, mentoring, intercultural communication)
6. Financial Literacy (understanding personal budgets, financial aid, economic wellness)
7. Networking (access to various departments, offices, faculty, staff, and alums)
So, how does one become involved with SAIL?
Rising juniors and seniors are invited during Block 8 to apply to become peer leaders for SAIL; sophomores can join the program during the fall. Sophomores and peer leaders are then matched according to their academic interests and social identities. Delman notes that this year is particularly exciting because the first sophomore class of SAIL will be graduating at the 2018 commencement.
The SAIL program has grown significantly since its first year. In 2015, there were 21 students involved; during the 2017—2018 school year, there were nearly 50 students involved. Delman recommends that SAIL sophomores continue with this program throughout the remainder of their college career, and since 2015 there has been a 24 percent increase in retention rates among sophomore students.
Overall, the future vision for SAIL is simply to continue benefitting CC sophomores. Delman reemphasizes that it is extremely important for students to have a consistent presence in their lives during their second year of college.
Rising sophomores or students interested in becoming peer leaders are invited to email Liliana Delman at firstname.lastname@example.org .