Center for Student Success

Center for Student Success

What is the Center for Student Success?

The Center for Student Success (CSS) is a department that collaborates closely with both academic and student affairs to assist students in persisting at the university. Comprised of multiple functioning areas, CSS integrates the mission of the university through curricular and co-curricular experiences. As students navigate their college experience at Mars Hill, the CSS staff works to ensure students are connected to campus resources while establishing life-long relationships in their home away from home.

First Year Orientation​

All new students participate in the multi-day First Year Orientation (FYO) program, which takes place over several days before the first day of class in both August and January. Housed in the Center for Student Success under the First Year Experience initiatives, FYO introduces new students to the university programs and procedures they will need to succeed. During FYO, new students meet in FYS 111: First-Year Seminar I, a course developed to help students understand Mars Hill’s undergraduate curriculum and become familiar with related services and resources. Through FYS 111, each incoming first-year student becomes part of a small group of freshmen and an advising team composed of an instructor and a peer leader called a First Year Mentor. The team continues to work together during FYO and throughout the semester.

First Year Pre-Orientation

New students matriculating in August are strongly encouraged to attend First Year Pre-Orientation (FYPO) a one-day event in April, May, June or July. Students who attend FYPO learn about academic programs and student life at Mars Hill; meet faculty members, staff members, and fellow students; and get answers to questions about financial aid, housing, and all manner of student activities. Most importantly, students who attend FYPO will receive their academic schedule for the upcoming semester at Mars Hill. All new students who do not already have transfer or AP/IB credit for courses in English, Mathematics, and Spanish and/or French are placed into courses that are developmentally appropriate for them, based on their high school records and standardized test scores.

First Year Mentors (FYMs) / Peer Academic Coaches (PACs)

Both First Year Mentors and Peer Academic Coaches serve an integral role within the department. Upperclassmen focused on the leadership development of their peers, FYMs assist and mentor First Year Students throughout their first year of college. In addition, Peer Academic Coaches specifically work with students who need additional support to ensure academic success. Between both roles, these student leaders are true role models who understand the importance of creating a strong foundation during the first year of college and strive to create positive academic and social environments for new students.

Interested in becoming a First Year Mentor or Peer Academic Coach? Contact Shannon Coleman via email at

CARE Reports

CSS solicits feedback and progress updates from faculty and communicates with the student and campus offices to best address students of concern.

When an instructor submits a CARE Report, the student will receive an email to let him/her know what the general issue is in the course for which they receive an alert. They are urged to speak with their instructor and academic advisor and/or seek other assistance, but are always welcome to visit the CSS office if they have questions or concerns about the CARE Reports they receive.

First Year Academic Success

FIrst Year Seminars

First Year Seminar 111 (FYS111)

FYS111 is a theme-based course which introduces students to the college experience at Mars Hill, to concepts fundamental to a liberal arts education, to the skills necessary for success in college, and to disciplinary perspectives.  All first-time first-year students must register for the course in their first semester at Mars Hill, as must freshman transfer students who do not have satisfactory credit for the course.

First Year Connections (FYC)

Housed in the Center for Student Success and developed in collaboration with multiple offices across campus, the First Year Connections program provides first-year students with the opportunity to make intentional curricular and co-curricular connections while learning how to balance these experiences.

All first-year students will participate in First Year Connections as a part of their First Year Seminar courses.  Students will have a “Menu” from which to choose activities designed to help them engage with resources, programs, events and the community.

First Year Engagement:

Co-curricular engagement is key to the transition and success of a first year student. Here in the Center for Student Success, there are multiple opportunities, through orientation, programming and mentoring, for students to engage with Mars Hill University.