New A&M International 'Experience' Helps Students Get Most From Higher Ed

Texas A&M International University will offer a new, First Year Experience Seminar titled, "Theories and Applications of Learning Psychology," this Fall.

Open to all first-time students and required for those at academic risk, the course is designed to teach students the key to surviving the first year of university and increasing academic success. It will cover time management skills, learning psychology theories, study and note-taking skills and pro-active academic behavior. Students will apply those skills daily during class hours.

In addition, individual advising, including academic and personal counseling, will be offered to participants. Class members will be assigned a counseling education or psychology graduate student intern who will meet with them for 30 minutes each week, resolving problems hindering their academic success.

The class and faculty are funded by part of a $2.25 million Title V grant and a portion of a $760,000 Federal TRIO grant. The Seminar is a component of an overall institutional drive to increase the retention rate of first-time students.

At-risk students required to enroll in the class must meet program requirements. The program will begin with approximately 160 first-time and transfer students invited to participate.

Conchita Hickey, executive director of the Office of Programs for Academic Support and Enrichment, said the new program will help students with a special support system.

"This support system will not allow first-year students to commit the classic mistakes: underestimation of necessary study time required for college, mismanagement of time, poor study strategies and not taking an active role in their own education. We want to insure every student has a positive experience at A&M International and gets the best possible education," she said.

First Year Seminar participants at other universities have matched or exceeded the retention rate and grade point average of students who have higher ACT/SAT scores, Hickey said.

The effort will be a team-based program. Hickey will lead the course sections, assisted by two new faculty members.

"The course itself is not team taught, but a group comprised of the faculty and the counselors will be working with each student, so it is a team program," Hickey said.

For more information about the First Year Experience Seminar, please contact Conchita Hickey at 326.2134, visit offices in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 214 or go online,

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at