Jumpstarting Success

drum making

Aboriginal Jumpstart participants take part in a drum making workshop at the First Nations Longhouse.

The first year of university can be tough, but a different culture or language can make it even tougher.

That’s why nearly 1,300 new international and Aboriginal students will arrive at UBC early to get a jump start on academic success.

The Jump Start program helps students make the transition from high school to university. Available for the first time to all incoming international and Aboriginal undergraduate UBC students, Jump Start is unique in Canada, combining a two-week orientation and a full year of personalized support for students.

“Many international and Aboriginal students come from very different academic cultures and are often unsure how to adapt to life at UBC,” says Program Director Caroline Rueckert. “Our goal is to help them become self-directed learners, and build the relationships that will sustain them throughout their time here.”

The program begins with a two-week (Aug. 16-29) introduction to UBC, academic life and faculty resources. Students are matched with faculty mentors, coaches and fellow students, and begin the process of building their personal learning and social communities. These connections continue after classes begin in September, with a range of academic and social programming that help students navigate their first-year studies.

“The program is very collaborative, and it takes a holistic approach to learning,” says Rueckert, who works closely with faculty, staff and students. “We know that for students to be academically successful, they need strong peer communities, connections with their faculties, and the ability to make good choices about everything from their health to their extracurricular commitments,” she says. “The program helps to develop learning habits that lead to long-term success.”

Pilot versions of the program have shown a significant impact on students’ grades, retention and engagement. Rueckert, who the B.C. Council for International Education has named a “rising star,” is excited that these outcomes are now available to all incoming international and Aboriginal students. “Jump Start helps these students begin university from a place of confidence, excited to learn and ready to contribute.”

Learn more at jumpstart.ubc.ca.