The program fosters student success through strong faculty-student interactions, a service-learning component, individual appointments with an academic success coach, and an emphasis on leadership development.
“This program was designed to help the students achieve the cohort ‘theme:’ lead yourself, lead in your classroom, lead in your community,’” said Sandy Ott, director of UNG’s Blue Ridge Campus. “When the faculty identify a specific need for a student in the cohort, they work together and with the academic success coach to develop custom programming to help that student.”
Students in the Blue Ridge Scholars cohort attend full-time, taking a minimum of four courses each semester. The program is augmented with workshops led by faculty and staff to help students explore topics such as leadership development, career planning, college completion, and diversity issues.
The Blue Ridge Scholars were selected based on high school GPA and extracurricular activities, and funding for the program is included in normal tuition. Next fall, Ott hopes a scholarship will be available for members of the program.
“There is a sense of community within the cohort that leads to greater accountability and support, and their education is happening inside and outside the classroom as they engage with each other and their community,” Ott said.
UNG’s Blue Ridge Campus opened in fall 2015 with an initial enrollment of 18 students. This fall, 112 students are enrolled at the campus. In addition to the Blue Ridge Scholars cohort, the campus offers dual-enrollment core curriculum courses for area high school students and core curriculum courses for adult learners who are beginning or returning to college. Online courses are also available.