Profile: Carolynn Mazzei

Academic Success Certificate program offered to high school students

carolynnEven though she graduated from high school as an honour-roll student, Carolynn Mazzei admits she was anxious about university-level expectations. “I was warned about the ‘freshman fifteen’ – that my grade point average could drop as much as 15% in my first year at Brescia University College. I didn’t want that to happen though,” Carolynn explains. “I remember sitting in a lecture and looking at the students to the left and right of me. It was at that moment that I realized that we were all there for the same reason. We wanted to be educated, and more than that, we wanted to achieve!”

In her first year of university, Carolynn decided to set the record straight as to what exactly was expected of her.  She registered for Brescia University College’s Fundamentals of Academic Success Certificate (FASC) program.

A series of five modules and 20 workshops, the FASC program was developed to prepare students with the skills and tools they need to succeed in university.  With workshop topics ranging from ‘Journal Articles and Databases,’ and ‘Note Taking’ to ‘Reflect on Success: From First Year and Beyond,’ Carolynn found ‘The Essay: Structure and Content’ workshop most intriguing.

“In my first semester at Brescia I received my very first ‘B’ on an essay,” Carolynn explains. “So I was really interested in ‘The Essay: Structure and Content’ workshop. Once I had completed the course I looked at essay writing in a whole different light. I began approaching essays first and foremost through ‘concept mapping.’ This helped me to organize my thoughts, arguments, and thesis in a visual way so I wouldn’t feel overwhelmed by the topic. And I always write a rough draft of my essay first now!”

After completing this workshop, Carolynn saw a significant and immediate difference in the grades and comments she received on subsequent essays. Her marks improved by a whole letter grade.

FASC is now being offered for students entering Grade 12 but the high school program will be called Students LEAD.

Carolynn was excited to hear that Brescia University College would be offering a two-day Students LEAD workshop during the summer of 2011 to students in Grade 11 who will be entering Grade 12 in September. “Offering these workshops to students entering Grade 12 makes a lot of sense. Not only will it prepare them for university before they even enroll, but it will also guide them through the final year of high school.”