What is a College Coach? Six Ways to Make the Most of This Support System
by Elaine Fernandez
One of the most unique aspects of Making Waves Foundation and the resources they provide is the college coach with whom you’re paired.
Connecting with your coach and finding ways to build a relationship with someone whom you’re going to be speaking to for your entire college experience, if not after too, is not as easy for some of us as it may be for others. If you find yourself wondering how to best use your college coach as a resource, or if you find yourself getting nervous about the calls or meetings with your coach or others in your support system, then this article is for you.
Your college coach is someone who’s going to be your rock during college, one of the most significant experiences one can have in life. They might also become a long-time mentor or friend if you decide to continue to grow the beautiful bond post-graduation.
As a current college student, I have been lucky enough to build a strong relationship with my coach instantaneously and, because of this, I want other Wave-Makers to see some ways in which they can establish a strong relationship too!
Below are six tips on how to help build comfortability and a vulnerable space with your college coach so you can best use them as a resource and support system during your college journey.
1. Share with your coach who you are as a person so you can get to know each other
Our differences are what make us unique, but our similarities are what can allow us to start bonds. When talking with your coach, find a way to connect about anything surface level first AND then a deeper level so they can get to know who you really are, and you can get to know your coach.
This might include:
- your love for a certain activity or interests,
- your upbringing, your culture and beliefs,
- the way you feel about certain topics or passion projects, or
- simply about your day.
Conversations like these, that you would have with a friend, are ones that you should have with your coach to get more comfortable.
2. Leverage your college coach professionally and personally
With time, the more these conversations are had, the more you will know your coach, and the more your coach will know you. This is crucial as it can help make them someone knowledgeable on your experiences and of you as a person.
This relationship building can help you if you ever need someone to write a letter of recommendation for you. Your college coach might be one of the best resources for a letter of recommendation as they’ll be able to write about you and everything you can bring to the table in a genuine way!
In addition, the more your coach knows you and who you are, the better they’ll know how to best help you out if you ever need someone to give you a pep talk, advice, or simply someone to listen to you, which brings me to my next point.
3. Prepare briefly for calls
As Wave-Makers, we’re supposed to call our coach a handful of times within the semester. To some of us this may seem like a lot, but it is a small commitment for significant benefit.
As college students, we face adversities weekly, if not daily, and calling our coach about once a month does not always leave room to share about a problem we may be having. Preparing will help you make the most of your time with your college coach. It will also aid you in asking about opportunities or resources you may need that your coach can connect you with!
4. Seek guidance from coaches about campus resources
DO NOT be afraid to ask your coach anything about your campus, even your classes! Coaches might know about certain classes that may be more challenging than others, some that may be easier to handle, and even have knowledge on what classes students have previously disliked or loved.
In addition, coaches know about offerings, opportunities, and resources that you may not even know are available on your campus. During my first year, thanks to my coach, I found out that there was such a thing as a possibility to choose Pass and No Pass on classes rather than receiving a grade, which has been so helpful!
5. Call them if you need someone to unwind to about anything
Feel free to reach out to your coach if you ever have something going on and need help. Do not feel like you must struggle through it alone because your call with your coach is not scheduled anytime soon. Simply reach out.
From my experience, my wonderful Coach Rosie Simpson always lets me know that she’s there for me whenever and that I can feel free to schedule an additional call, or to text her if anything comes up. Reaching out to your coach aside from when you’re supposed to helps so much more in building and strengthening the relationship.
6. Remember: college coaches are here for YOU!
You can craft the relationship with your college coach or with other support systems you have and drive it in the direction you best believe you want it to go! Remember that your coach is there for YOU. Anything you need, simply ask.
Making Waves coaches are unique in the sense that they truly adore what they do, and they love getting the opportunity to help you succeed and navigate this difficult time in your life. Your coaches are people who’ve already been through the college experience, and simply want to help make it easier for you. Your coach loves you, and they love being able to help you in any way possible, so put your walls down and build that ever-lasting relationship with them.
I promise that with time, they will become your sanctuary just like my coach has become mine.
ABOUT MAKING WAVES FOUNDATION
With a unique focus on college attendance and graduation, Making Waves Foundation supports historically underrepresented and underserved students in pursuing their dreams. Making Waves Academy is a public charter school in Richmond, California, educating early 1,200 students and Making Waves Foundation’s college success program, known as CAP, provides coaching, scholarships, financial literacy, and career support for more than 500 college students as well as a network for more than 600 Wave-Maker alumni.
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