Thursday, May 30, 2024

Living-learning communities provide UTSA students with academic and social advantages

Living-learning communities provide UTSA students with academic and social advantages

How UTSA’s on-campus communities are ensuring greater academic success

AUGUST 8, 2023 — This year, roughly 800 students living in UTSA’s on-campus housing communities will experience the academic and social benefits of being part of a Special Interest Housing (SIH) group. These communities are designed to house students with similar interests together and provide them with specialized programming to support their academic success and sense of belonging at UTSA.

UTSA currently has nine active Special Interest Housing groups that occupy rooms in Guadalupe Hall, Alvarez Hall and Chisholm Hall.

The largest SIH group is the Honors Residential College (HRC), with 350 first-year honors students occupying Guadalupe Hall. The Honors College at UTSA requires its first-year students to live on campus and its residential community has become a signature part of the honors experience at UTSA. HRC events include professional development workshops, guest lectures and social events such as game days, movie nights on the lawn, destress with pets, and other activities that help students connect with one another and build a community.

Co-located in Guadalupe Hall with the HRC is the Engineering Focused Interest Group (FIG), a living-learning community run by the Student Success Center for the Margie and Bill Klesse College of Engineering and Integrated Design (Klesse College). This fall, the Engineering FIG is welcoming 33 first-year engineering honors students who are enrolled in classes together, have a dedicated peer and faculty mentor, and enjoy the benefits of being members of the Honors College.

While first-year engineering students already have an impressive 83% retention rate, FIG students boast a 90% rate and 94% are in good academic standing. The average GPA of students in the Engineering FIG is 3.15 compared to 2.8 of other first-year engineering students.

Like the Klesse College, the Alvarez College of Business and the College of Sciences run their own living-learning communities through their college student success centers. Students in these college-based programs benefit from being paired with a peer mentor and from having the opportunity to engage regularly with their college faculty. Students also have immediate exposure to the many success resources available to them, and the chance to participate in experiential learning and leadership programs.

The second cohort of Bold Scholars will be moving into Chisholm Hall next week as well. Reserved for students who were admitted to UTSA as part of the university’s Bold Promise tuition assistance program, the 222 incoming freshmen in the Bold Scholar program benefit from a comprehensive on-campus living-learning experience with all housing costs covered.

The students live in triple-occupancy rooms and receive dedicated support from academic advisors, counselors, professional and peer mentors, success coaches and others who help them experience the range of academic support and social engagement programs that make UTSA a model for student success.

Get details about Move-In Week.
Learn more about the services of the Academic Success District, including the College Student Success Centers.

According to a mid-year report from Academic Affairs, the first cohort of Bold Scholars completed more credit hours and made better grades than other first-time-in-college UTSA students and even other Bold Promise students who do not live on campus.

Other SIH communities center around the first-generation college students, Spanish language immersion, leadership and service, and wellbeing.

Prospective students interested in living on campus in one of the SIH communities starting in Fall 2024 are encouraged to apply for campus housing as early as possible since most SIH groups fill up on a first come first served basis. The UTSA Housing application is expected to open November 1.

KC Gonzalez

UTSA Today is produced by University Strategic Communications,
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of The University of Texas at San Antonio.

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