Faculty and staff aren’t the only ones who provide guidance to students at Southern Maine Community College. All across SMCC, you’ll also find students helping students, serving as mentors to help their classmates reach their potential.

Among them is Patrick Remedis, who serves as an academic mentor on SMCC’s Midcoast Campus at Brunswick Landing. Four days a week, Patrick oversees what we call our Academic Success Labs.

Each Lab is two hours long and provides students a quiet space where they can concentrate on their schoolwork, assess their progress and turn to Patrick for advice and guidance.  The Labs are open to all students, and are required for those who live in our residential halls and are at risk academically.

Each week, participating students fill out progress reports and write comments on how they did in their classes the prior week. They also develop academic success plans to help them keep on track. Students are asked to attend at least one Lab per week and spend the entire two hours there.

Patrick talks to each student one-to-one to see how they’re doing and offer his help before they start in on their homework. It’s rewarding, he says, to collaborate with students and help them succeed in college.

“I really like meeting with students and making connections with them,” says Patrick, who is majoring in Business Administration and plans to transfer to a four-year institution after he graduates from SMCC. “It’s gratifying when students turn to me when they need help, and that I can offer that help.”

SMCC is committed to making college affordable and accessible for Mainers. We are equally committed to ensuring their success once they are here.

It’s one thing to get a student into college. But it is quite another to make sure they complete their education before they enter the workforce or continue their schooling at a four-year institution.

SMCC has held Academic Success Labs on both our South Portland and Midcoast campuses since 2017. So far, the data show that the Labs are working. Students who have fully participated in them have achieved higher GPAs and successfully completed more classes.

Samantha Berard, a first-year Liberal Studies student, has great grades and isn’t required to attend an Academic Success Lab, but she goes anyway because they’re beneficial. Doing well academically is vital toward her goal of becoming a school teacher, preferably in a country where children have limited access to schools.

The Labs take her away from distractions in her dorm room. “They’ve helped because they provide me a time and place to focus,” she says. “It’s just two hours where I can get things done.”

Our Academic Success Lab is just one tool in our academic success toolbox. But it’s the type of tool that can help any student.

“I would suggest that anybody come to the Academic Success Lab,” Patrick says, “even if they’re getting straight A’s.”

Joe Cassidy is the president of Southern Maine Community College.

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