FASTrack is a one-year academic program for freshmen students designed to help them adjust to classes and feel a part of the campus.
“I preach getting involved,” said Sovent Taylor, a FASTrack advisor. “We require community service in the FASTrack EDHE class. The program, in itself, is involvement. You have to get involved to pass the EDHE course.”
The EDHE class of about 20 students teaches success strategies for freshmen. Each class is required to participate in five campus events, which can include cultural events, sporting events and the event voted most popular among students- Rebel Run. Taylor said these event help freshman “meet new people and share new experiences.”
Taylor’s involvement with the FASTrack program has given him insight into how each Ole Miss freshman class is affected by the program. He says students have learned the importance of leadership, campus involvement and good study habits thanks to FASTrack.
“FASTrack continues to grow every year,” he said. “The program has become increasingly popular at the university.”
Madeline Crawford, a former FASTrack student, added that she valued FASTrack’s importance most after it was over. “As a freshman, I often got aggravated with a few aspects of the FASTrack program,” she said. “For example, the teachers were often much pickier since they had smaller, more intimate classes. This made things difficult for me at the time, but looking back on that as a sophomore, I’m very appreciative of the close relationship we had with our teachers.”
One of FASTrack’s main academic goals is to create a better relationship between teachers and students. Another program benefit is that students share the same classes with the same people.
But it was the opportunity to live in the new residential halls on campus that played a big part in Ryan Joachim’s decision to join the program. Joachim adds that small classes and additional study opportunities helped him make friends, and his FASTrack advisor helped him get through his freshman year.
“I see the program as an opportunity,” Joachim said. “It isn’t some magical thing you can join and you automatically start making better grades. You have to work hard in class and the people that normally do work hard got the grades they deserved. I would say the program works but only for those who take full advantage of it.”
To find out more about FASTrack, visit their website at www.fastrack.olemiss.edu, or contact any of the FASTrack advisors listed on www.olemiss.edu.
—Anna Baskin, journalism student, Meek School of Journalism and New Media
—You can e-mail Anna at firstname.lastname@example.org