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COST program at GSU helps freshmen make college transition
COST Advisement Center coordinator Lisa Vance helps a Georgia Southern student with his class schedule. During the recently completed fall semester, the center provided academic support to more than 600 freshmen who are students in the Allen E. Paulson College of Science and Technology. - photo by Special
    It is billed as a “one-stop shop” for freshmen in the Allen E. Paulson College of Science and Technology (COST) at Georgia Southern University.
    The COST Advisement Center helps young students achieve academic and personal excellence by carefully planning and closely monitoring their first year in the classroom.
    Under the direction of coordinator Lisa Vance and supervisor Mary Boyd, the center features a staff of eight faculty advisors, two professional advisors and a representative from the University’s
Office of Career Services.
    “Moving from high school to college can be tough for some students,” Vance said. “Our goal is help COST students make this transition as smoothly as possible.”
    Located on the second floor of the Chemistry/Nursing Building, the COST Advisement Center is celebrating its first anniversary in Spring 2008.
    “The first two years of a student’s academic career are critical,” said Boyd, who is the chair of the Department of Chemistry.
    “The advisement center helps these young students get on the right track toward their degree, and it makes sure they know about all of the career options that are available to them.”
    The COST Advisement Center is an example of Georgia Southern’s commitment to increasing the number of students who graduate with a bachelor’s degree in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields.
    This commitment is a response to several prominent studies, including one by the National Academy which revealed that America’s advantages in science and technology have started to disappear, thanks in large part to a lack of people who have post-secondary training in
these disciplines.
    To address the situation, COST began a project called ASPIRES, which stands for Advisement and Scholarship Promoting Inquiry-based Research Experiences in STEM.
    Funded in part by a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation, ASPIRES features five initiatives that seek to improve graduation rates by increasing the retention of STEM students and
improving academic achievement in introductory math and science courses.
    The project also addresses the Board of Regents’ priority initiative to enhance student progress, which is known as Retention, Progression and Graduation (RPG).
    The first group of freshmen who used the COST Advisement Center in Spring 2007 are now sophomores. They have been assigned to faculty advisors within their major departments, and these advisors will guide the students through the rest of their academic careers.
    However, the freshmen who entered Georgia Southern in Summer and Fall 2007 and all future first-year students will use the COST Advisement Center for both their freshman and sophomore years. Once they become juniors, these students will be assigned to a faculty advisor within their major departments.
    The COST Advisement Center includes faculty advisors from the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, Construction Management and Civil Engineering Technology, Geology and Geography, Mathematical Sciences, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Technology, and Physics.
    There are also two professional advisors who can counsel students from any department. The center served 623 students during the recently completed fall semester.
    “Each advisor is responsible for all of the majors in his or her department,” Boyd said. “This ensures that all of the students within each department are getting consistent advisement.”
    The students are also encouraged to make an appointment with Wallace Brown, the experiential employment coordinator in Career Services. He spends part of each week in the COST Advisement Center, providing interested students with a plethora of information about internships, cooperative education positions, job-shadowing programs, and graduate school opportunities.
    “A lot of students don’t even think about Career Services until they’re seniors,” Brown said. “What’s we trying to do through the COST Advisement Center is make sure that students are aware of what we can do to help them as they proceed through the academic curriculum.
    “It’s never too early to start thinking about what you want to do when you finish college. I’m here to let the students know what their options are.”
    For more information on the COST Advisement Center, visit or call (912) 681-0649.
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