Jump Start expands to all students after being linked to higher student retention, satisfaction

UBC’s Jump Start program has expanded to include all direct-entry, first-year students due to positive response from previous years

Jump Start is a multi-day, intensive orientation program designed to introduce first year students on how to succeed in university through more than 12 hours of faculty-led instruction, peer mentorship from senior undergraduates and social integration.

“From previous years, we know that Jump Start attendance is positively correlated with improved student retention, higher end of term GPA, friendships, and an improved sense of belonging at UBC,” said Robbie Morrison, associate director of first year experience and student engagement.

The positive response to Jump Start was also reflected in the AMS’s most recent Academic Experience Survey, where 59 per cent of respondents said Jump Start leaders were a helpful mental health resource.

Previously, Jump Start was limited to international students and Canadian students who studied abroad in their secondary education. In 2017, the program was expanded to domestic students entering the Sauder School of Business and the faculty of land and food systems

This year UBC received 3,400 registrations — nearly half of the new cohort — a substantial increase from the 1,924 students registered in 2017.

The unexpected volume of students led to some operational adjustments the program.

“We also had to bring on some additional Faculty Fellows and additional Orientation Leaders to support additional Learning Communities for first-year students.” said Associate Director, First Year Experience & Student Engagement Robbie Morrison. “We even brought back a few student team members who had worked on Jump Start in 2017 to assist for a couple of weeks.”

Kim Kiloh, Director of Centre for Student Involvement and Careers, says the program was specially designed to integrate students into campus life, increasing their success later in their university careers.

“The Jump Start program was developed using current research on learning, brain development, university transition and social connection,” said Kiloh. “We know it’s beneficial for new students to meet one another and upper-year students, get to know a faculty member, and become familiar with the campus before classes begin.”

“We are still tallying attendance, but it looks as though about 90 per cent of registered students attended at least part of the program.” said Morrison.