Behind the scenes at  the SSC with Sydney Sloan
SSC coaches during a study hall. From left to right: McKenna Mooney, Nayelis Cardenas, Betzy Lopez, Tea Jones and Rosa Martinez. Photo courtesy of Syndey Sloan.

Behind the scenes at the SSC with Sydney Sloan

Located in LBR 103, the Student Success Center (SSC) provides one-on-one peer coaching for students. Student coaches specialize in attention management, reading comprehension and more. Whether students are struggling with the transition from high school to college, want to solidify their study routines or would just like an accountability partner to keep their phone away, the SSC is the place for them. Associate Director of Tutoring and Coaching Sydney Sloan leads the SSC and spoke with the Catalyst about some of the services they offer. 

“Earlier this semester, we tabled with the Counseling and Wellness Center (CWC). It was called ‘7up’ and we passed out little cans of 7up to talk about sleep as a form of wellness. Meaning that you need seven plus hours of sleep to maintain a healthy routine, healthy sleep,” Sloan explained. “So we had the CWC come out with some of their resources, to talk about not only  sleep habits and having a healthy sleep schedule but also to offer their resources while we could promote our resources at the same time.” 

In the past, the SSC has collaborated with the Council of Green Affairs (CGA) to hold outdoor study halls in the Nook, or with the Recreation Center for poolside study sessions. Events such as these and themed events at the SSC’s library location are an almost weekly occurrence, providing different environments to be productive. 

Along with sharing what the SSC does, Sloan clarified what services they don’t offer. Though they provide short bios of each coach so students can pick one with a similar Area of Concentration (AOC), they are not able to provide direct tutoring for a specific class. 

“We definitely have a mix of AOCs in our coaches here, so students can choose someone that may have taken the class if they need help navigating the course as a whole but not necessarily help you break down the homework question,” Sloan explained. 

For students still on the hunt for an on-campus job, the SSC is also hiring. The application for this $15 per hour position can be found here

“We hire students that are academically successful, meaning they’ve had success in their time here at New College. So, after this fall semester, if the student is in good academic standing then this position could be really good for them,” Sloan stated.

The type of candidates Sloan is looking to hire should be willing to communicate with others, proficient in organization and time management. “Those traits are really at the core of being a student success coach.”

The above-average salary of coaches in comparison to other on-campus positions comes from the selection process and in-depth training they receive when hired.

“It’s a 14-hour-long training,” Sloan said. “It happens over the course of two days, usually right before the semester starts. We go over a lot of the foundational elements of what being a coach is about.” 

Standard foundational elements include expectations of the role and how to be equipped to run a study hall. A large part focuses on strategy and answering the question: what strategies that students might not know about can be implemented into their schedules, into their routines, their habits to make them feel more successful as students?

“We talk about universal design theory, which is how you can proactively create more inclusive spaces for others,” Sloan said. “We talk about how as a student employee you can advocate for yourself, create healthy boundaries. And because we are not a confidential source, but we’re a private source, we talk more about FERPA.” 

Sloan wanted to highlight another role in the SSC structure, currently called Student Success Assistants.

“They do so much more than just help me out. They’re really the bulk of our pathways to information, the liaison between the student and the coach,” Sloan said. “They sit at the front desk, help students who’ve never been to our center know how to use our scheduler to make appointments, help me run NovoConnect and talk about our events and really get our communication and marketing out there.”

Though not hiring for the Student Success Assistant position at this time, an email notice and job announcement on Handshake will be posted when there are openings again. 

Those interested in participating in events should be encouraged to follow the SSC on social media. 

“We post about our study halls and we post a lot of informationals, such as how to fill out your provisional AOC form and a guide on how to use Knack. We also share a little more about some on-campus academic resources,” Sloan explained. For the quickest way to access what’s happening at the SSC, follow their Instagram @NCFstudentsuccess

Sloan was enthusiastic about being able to expand her team of coaches. 

“Really, we’re one big team. We have staff meetings once a week, we develop study halls and other events and programs. We do a lot more than just one-on-one peer coaching, which is really exciting,” she concluded.

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