NKU R.O.C.K.S. Helps Students With Transition to College

NKU R.O.C.K.S. program helps minority freshman transition to the university.

For minority students who plan on attending Northern Kentucky University this fall, the transition from freshman to sophomore year will be much smoother than in the past.

NKU R.O.C.K.S., which stands for Responsibility, Opportunity, Community, Knowledge and Success, is an intensive five-day summer transition program offered by the office of African American student affairs. The program takes place on the on the campus of Northern Kentucky University and is held a week before the start of the fall semester.

According to African American student affairs director and NKU R.O.C.K.S. program coordinator Deborah Strahorn, the purpose of the program is to offer assistance and guidance to first-year minority students.

During the program, students will have the opportunity to participate in a plethora of “educational, social, cultural and professional development” programs designed to enhance the well-being and success of each student during their tenure at NKU.

NKU R.O.C.K.S. participants are also paired with NKU upperclassmen who have previously attended the NKU R.O.C.K.S. program. Strahorn said that peer mentors are beneficial to the program and are instrumental to its success
“Just [by] having that peer mentor relationship, students are able to assist [freshmen] with their personal and academic adjustments to campus,” Strahorn said.

Strahorn’s goal for the program is for each student to take from it a sense of leadership and a desire to do something for other students among the university. “We want to start developing [minority students] as leaders,” she said.

In addition to its current programming, NKU R.O.C.K.S. has a new spin-off–NKU R.O.C.K.S. Remix.

According African American student affairs’ assistant director Tracy Stokes, the Remix program is designed to help upcoming sophomore students on figuring out their specific academic plans and fulfilling those plans.”Now it’s time for students to pave a way and start a path so that they are able to get to their main goal which is graduation,” Stokes said.

After assessing the program the last couple of years, Strahorn said that the NKU R.O.C.K.S. program has seen a steady rate of success among students who attend the program. She also added that the majority of the students felt like the program was beneficial and have succeeded academically because of it.

”We’ve had really great results,” Strahorn said of the previous year’s numbers. “Over half of the students received a 3.0 or higher last fall, which definitely speaks to our commitment in making sure that they are successful academically.”

According to a survey that was released in September 2011 following last year’s NKU R.O.C.K.S. summer program, 79 percent of the students said that NKU R.O.C.K.S. program has better prepared them for college. Seventy-eight percent said that the program has helped their social well-being as well. The study indicated that NKU R.O.C.K.S. allowed students to meet, interact and develop friendships with other students, effectively pushing them to develop those social skills necessary to succeed in college.

For more information on both programs, please contact coordinators Tracy Stokes and Deborah Strahorn and visit the Office of African-American Student Affairs website via Northern Kentucky University’s page. http://www.nku.edu/~aasa/