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The Brown Daily Herald: Sophomore peer advising program in high demand

February 11, 2010

By Zung Nguyen Vu

Contributing Writer

Published: Thursday, February 11, 2010

Updated: Thursday, February 11, 2010

Last Saturday at the Faculty Club, an intimate brunch attended by participating sophomores, seniors and faculty kicked off the Match Advising Program for Sophomores.

The program has paired 40 selected sophomores with 40 seniors who share their interests and will provide them with advice and mentoring throughout the semester.

Molly Jacobson ’10, the program’s coordinator, said she saw the need for a sophomore-oriented advising program while working as an outreach coordinator at the Curricular Resource Center.

“Being a sophomore at Brown is being in a uniquely precarious position,” Jacobson said. “Your freshman faculty advisor might no longer fit you, you no longer have a  Meiklejohn, many have not registered for a major to receive departmental support, yet you are still a legitimately anxious student at Brown.”

Encouraged and supported by the CRC, Jacobson drafted a proposal that received support and funding from the Dean of the College’s office and enabled the MAPS program to start this semester.

The program sent out applications to sophomores and seniors during winter break. According to Jacobson, the program received about 360 applications — roughly 230 sophomores and 130 seniors.  Jacobson said this number not only demonstrated a high demand for advice in the sophomore class, but also a willingness to help from the seniors.

“I decided to join the program because I remembered what it felt like to be a sophomore,” wrote Anjali Rao ’10 in an e-mail to The Herald. “It was almost like being in academic no-man’s-land.”

MAPS chose the 40 students in each of the two classes based on their range of needs, experiences and interests, Jacobson said. Last Saturday’s brunch, when seniors and sophomores had the chance to meet their match for the first time, was the culmination of the process. Besides maintaining a close and constructive relationship with their advisees, the seniors involved will also organize four panels during the semester on issues particularly relevant to the sophomore class.

“I was worried that the program might just be an empty buzzword to throw out on a campus tour, but it actually seems like a really useful and much-needed addition to the advising system,” wrote Amit Jain ’12 in an e-mail to The Herald.

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