Natalie AtkinCo-ordinator Natalie Atkin says the Fresh Start program gives students the additional academic support they need to succeed.

Program provides a fresh start for struggling FAHSS students

Help is available for students who didn’t get off to a great start academically in any program offered in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (FAHSS).

The Fresh Start program builds the skills needed for successful university study through a required course, on-going academic advising, a pre-study workshop, and strategies to improve students’ grades. It was one of the first programs in the province to offer course credit (through Investigating the Contemporary World) for an academic support program.

Natalie Atkin, co-ordinator of first-year access programs in FAHSS, developed Fresh Start in 2008 and continues it. The program enables these students, who can be required after two semesters with a low grade-point average to withdraw from university for a year, to continue their enrolment.

“Since 2008, Fresh Start has helped hundreds of FAHSS students get the additional academic support they need to succeed,” says Dr. Atkin.

Benjamin Canizales-Becerra, who completed the program this spring, agrees.

“Fresh Start benefited me greatly by providing me with the opportunity to re-orient myself after my first year of university,” he says. “Having an in-person class allowed me to engage in visual learning while enabling me to interact with other students, along with seeing an improved work ethic over the course of the semester.”

He says the program gives students a chance to redeem themselves.

“With the support of the professors and instructors, there is no doubt in my mind that those who enrol in the class will succeed,” says Canizales-Becerra.

This fall Fresh Start will expand to admit more second-year students who have struggled during the pandemic, says Atkin.

“As the ill-effects of the pandemic continue to be felt by our students, Fresh Start is needed more than ever,” she says.

Learn more on the Fresh Start website:

—Susan McKee