The WISE Cohort

A cohort is a group of students who progress through their academic journey together, sharing experiences, resources, and support along the way. In the context of the WISE Program at Stetson University, a cohort model means that first-year students in WISE will be grouped together into a cohesive and supportive community before they even step onto campus. 

Being part of a cohort means you'll have the opportunity to build strong connections with your peers who share similar backgrounds, experiences, and aspirations. You'll attend classes together, participate in program-specific activities and events and receive personalized support and guidance tailored to the needs of your community. 

The WISE cohort will share a variety of experiences aimed at fostering community, academic success, and personal growth. As a member of the WISE cohort, you'll have the opportunity to participate in a range of activities and events designed to support your transition to college and enhance your overall experience at Stetson. 

Some of the experiences that the WISE cohort will share include: 

  • Summer Bridge Week 

  • First-Year Seminar (FSEM) 

  • First-Year $uccess Program (FY$P) 

  • WISE Up Wednesdays  

  • Peer Mentorship 

  • WISE Advising 

  • Community Engagement 

These shared experiences will not only strengthen the bonds within the WISE cohort but also provide valuable opportunities for personal and academic growth. By participating in these activities together, cohort members will forge lasting friendships, support each other's success, and create a vibrant and supportive community within the larger Stetson University community. 

Being a first-generation student means that your parents (or legal guardians) did not complete a 4-year college or university degree. This means you are the first in your immediate family to pursue higher education at the college or university level. 

At Stetson University, we recognize and celebrate the diverse backgrounds and experiences of our students. Our definition of first-generation college students also includes students whose parents attended international universities. Regardless of where your parents attended college, if they did not complete a 4-year degree, you are considered a first-generation student at Stetson. 

For many first-gen students, navigating the college experience may present unique challenges and opportunities. However, being a first-gen is also a source of strength and resilience. It means blazing a trail for future generations in your family and opening doors to new possibilities and opportunities. 

The WISE Program is committed to supporting the success of all our students, and we offer a range of resources, programs, and support services designed to help you thrive academically, socially, and personally throughout your college journey. 

Being a first-generation college student is something to be proud of, and we're honored to have you as part of our vibrant and diverse community at Stetson University. 

The WISE Program is committed to serving first-generation college students who hold marginalized or underrepresented identities – that is, students who are the first in their families to pursue higher education, and who come from backgrounds or communities that have that have historically faced systemic barriers to access and opportunity in higher education based on factors such as race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, and other intersecting identities. 

The WISE Program specifically focuses on supporting first-generation college students who may face unique challenges as they navigate the college experience, including limited access to resources and support networks, cultural and familial expectations, and navigating unfamiliar academic and social environments. 

Unfortunately, the WISE Program cannot admit international or transfer students into the cohort at this time. However, we remain committed to creating an inclusive and supportive environment for all first-generation students, and welcome anyone outside the cohort to engage with our events and programming. 

We're thrilled that you're interested in becoming a WISE Scholar! 

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion collaborates with staff in Admissions and Institutional Research to identify admitted first-year students who have indicated First-Generation status on their FAFSA and/or Stetson applications, and who belong to historically marginalized or underrepresented communities. If you meet these criteria, you'll receive an invitation via email to apply to the WISE cohort in late May. This invitation will provide you with instructions on how to complete the application process. 

If you're selected to be a WISE Scholar, congratulations! You'll soon become part of a vibrant and supportive community dedicated to your success and well-being. Get ready to embark on an exciting journey of growth, connection, and achievement at Stetson University. We can't wait to welcome you to the WISE cohort and support you on your academic and personal journey. 

If you have any questions or need assistance throughout the application process, don't hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected]! We’re here to help! 

We're excited that you're interested in becoming a WISE mentor/leader and making a positive impact on the first- and second-year students in our program!  

Applications to become a WISE Mentor/Leader will open each year during the week of Spring Break. When the application form opens, you'll be able to access it here using your myStetson single sign-on (SSO).  

If your application is selected for further consideration, you'll be invited to participate in interviews, which will take place early to mid-April. Decision letters will be emailed to students at their email address by May 1. Be sure to check your email regularly for updates on the status of your application! 

Please note that to be eligible for a WISE Leader role, applicants must: 

  • Be first-generation 

  • Hold a historically marginalized or underrepresented identity 

  • Maintain a 2.5 cumulative GPA 

  • Be in good academic and conduct standing with the University 

  • Have the availability to fully engage with their mentee(s) and the expectations of the WISE program 

Unfortunately, the WISE Program does not have the capacity to support international or transfer students at this time. 

If selected, you'll have the opportunity to play a pivotal role in supporting and guiding first-year students in their transition to college life. Get ready to inspire, empower, and make a lasting impact on the WISE community! 

We're looking forward to receiving your application and potentially welcoming you to the WISE leadership team. If you have any further questions, don't hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected]! We're here to help! 

Peer mentorship is at the heart of the WISE Program, and First-Year Mentors play a vital role in supporting the transition and success of first-year WISE students at Stetson University. 

Each first-year WISE student will be matched with a peer mentor—a returning first-gen Stetson student who will serve as a guide, advocate, and friend. First-Year Mentors will offer guidance and advice based on their own experiences and knowledge of the campus and its resources and provide support and encouragement to help first-year students overcome obstacles, stay motivated on their academic journey, and meaningfully engage in the Stetson community. 

In addition, First-Year mentors will move in early and receive extensive training and leadership development during Summer Bridge Week. They'll be expected to attend and facilitate their mentee(s) engagement in WISE programming, events, and opportunities for personal and professional development. 

Second-year mentors play a crucial role in providing support and guidance to sophomore WISE students as they navigate their second year at Stetson University. 

The second-year mentorship program is designed to mitigate the Sophomore Slump—a period where students may experience a dip in motivation or engagement—and create a supportive space for WISE students who may not yet be ready to step into leadership roles or who need continued support to remain engaged with WISE.  

Second-year mentors will work closely with a small cohort of sophomore WISE students, typically consisting of 2-4 students. This allows for personalized attention and support tailored to the specific needs and challenges of each student. Second-year mentors will help their mentees remain connected and engaged with the WISE community by encouraging participation in WISE programming, events, and opportunities for personal and professional development. 

WISE Program Leads will play a pivotal role in shaping the experiences and support systems that empower our WISE cohort to thrive academically, socially, and personally at Stetson University.  

Candidates for the WISE Program Lead position will be identified through the WISE Mentor interview process and notified on the same timeline. While the qualifications to hold this role are the same as those for a WISE Mentor, Program Leads should have the availability and capacity to develop and facilitate programming, not just participate in it. 

While WISE mentors provide direct student-facing support and mentorship, WISE Program Leads work behind the scenes in collaboration with the Assistant Director of Student Success and Retention Initiatives and the College Access and Success Coordinator to develop programming, systems, and infrastructure that effectively support the transition, development, success, and retention of the WISE cohort. This may include contributing to Summer Bridge Week, WISE-Up Wednesdays, and other events or initiatives throughout the year. The leadership and facilitation skills of the Program Leads will be instrumental in creating engaging and impactful experiences for all WISE students. 

Collaboration and teamwork are key components of success in this role, and they’ll work closely with WISE Mentors and professional staff to ensure that the needs of the WISE cohort are met effectively and efficiently.  

Becoming a WISE Mentor/Leader is an opportunity to make a significant difference in the lives and academic trajectories of fellow first-gen students while gaining valuable skills and experiences that will serve you well in your personal and professional journey. 

As a WISE Mentor/Leader, you'll have the opportunity to step into a leadership role and develop essential leadership skills such as communication, problem-solving, and teamwork. You'll learn how to effectively mentor and support others while also honing your own leadership style. The experience that will challenge you to grow and gain confidence, resilience, and a sense of purpose as you support and empower your peers to succeed. 

In addition to the opportunities for leadership and personal development, being a WISE Mentor/Leader is also considered a Peer Leader role, with an associated stipend reflecting the value and importance of your role within the WISE community.