Purposeful enrollment growth, which includes increasing retention numbers, is a strategic priority at the University of West Florida (UWF). In the strategic plan for 2008-2012, UWF specifically set the goal of enhancing the one year retention rate for first-time in college students by 1% annually. In order to maximize efforts of increasing retention rates, the Department of Student Transition Programs created Argo Link; a program that specifically focuses on transitioning first-time in college students to UWF and helping them become active members of the campus community.
The main focus of Argo Link is to get new Argonauts out having fun, meeting new people and getting connected to UWF by attending campus events. Argo Link is an incentive-based program where first-time in college students earn points for attending campus events deemed "Argo Link events". Events will include, but are not limited to athletic games, Counseling and Wellness Services workshops, Campus Activity Board events, fine and performing arts events, Student Government Association meetings, and university-wide events such as Convocation, Family Weekend, Homecoming, etc. There will be multiple Argo Link events every week which means there will be many opportunities for students to gain points! Points will accumulate and prizes will be awarded to those students with the highest point values at the end of the semester. The third place prize is a UWF prize pack full of Argonaut merchandise. Second place will receive a $200 gift card to the UWF bookstore, and the grand prize is a semester meal plan, the Argo 10, which is valued at $1350.
Encourage your first-time in college student to visit the Argo Link Web site at www.uwf.edu/argolink and check out the calendar of events. Students in the program will also receive bi-weekly emails from their Argo Link Liaison with information about upcoming events, important tips and reminders. Argo Link Liaisons are upperclassmen who serve as a resource to first-time in college students and help them get connected to UWF by encouraging them to attend on-campus events. If your student is seeking an opportunity to be a mentor to an incoming student, or is looking for a volunteer-based program led by students, they should consider applying to be an Argo Link Liaison.
Research shows that the more students are involved at their university the more likely they are to persist from their first-year to their second-year. Argo Link will expose first-time in college students to experiences and resources that will enhance their transition to college and will increase their persistence to continue their education at UWF.
For more information about Argo Link please contact the Department of Student Transition Programs at firstname.lastname@example.org or 850-473-7229.
By Kaitlin Oyler
Coordinator, Student Transition Programs