Illuminating the Path

This story is featured in the Fall 2019 edition of the HPU Magazine. Discover below how HPU’s student success program eases the transition from high school to college. 

Success Coaches light the way so students can envision their future.

Each time a student meets with their HPU Success Coach, a positive change happens.

Sometimes, it’s a small step — like connecting with the Writing Center or getting involved in a club.

Other times, it’s a huge leap forward — like discovering the perfect major.

Whether it’s a gentle nudge in the right direction or a challenge to step out in faithful courage, Success Coaches are there every step of the way.

All incoming freshmen at High Point University are matched with a Success Coach who guides them through the transition to college life.

Success Coaches help students decide on a major, develop a plan for achieving their goals and connect with campus resources. They are the coach instructing from the sidelines, the cheerleader rooting them on and the agent with the right contacts to help make connections.


Making the Switch to Medical School

Emily Lyon, ’19, is now in medical school pursuing her dream of becoming a doctor. But she knows the value of Success Coaches firsthand.

Far from her family and Pennsylvania home, Lyon felt the full weight of the transition to college. She had planned to major in physical therapy, but after diving into her classes, she realized she wanted to pursue a pre-medicine track. It would be a challenge to change her academic plan, but Britt Carl, her Success Coach, helped illuminate the possibilities.

“Britt stepped in and helped me find a way,” says Lyon. “Even though she was my freshman Success Coach, I talked to her throughout senior year. I would see her on campus, and she’d ask about everything from my classes to medical school interviews. She was a great motivator who encouraged me.”

Freshman year seems like a blur now for Lyon. After graduating from HPU in May, she was commissioned into the U.S. Air Force and started medical school at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. HPU’s dedication to “God, family and country” inspired that path. Carl’s chats — the simple ones and the major-changing ones — lit the way.

“I was able to do it because I had mentors who pushed me to work hard and go for it,” she says. “If I would have gone to a larger school, I wouldn’t have had the same individualized support to accomplish such a risky change.”

That’s what being a Success Coach is about, Carl says.

“It was a full-circle moment to see Emily achieve the dream she set out pursuing freshman year,” says Carl. “We emphasize that we have a partnership with the students — they do their part and we do ours to achieve academic success. We absolutely love what we do and enjoy seeing  our students continue to develop and grow during their college journey.”


More Than an Advisor

In addition to academic advising, Success Coaches also serve as life coaches and university liaisons who encourage students to find their niche and pursue their passions.

As a freshman from Archdale, North Carolina, Jackson Barnes already had his mind set on majoring in theater. But he needed help finding the right balance with academics and extracurriculars. Success Coach Hilah Cook worked with him to develop a plan.

“Hilah helped me create the perfect schedule and get involved in clubs and organizations,” he says. “She was there whenever I needed encouragement or help balancing everything. I never felt like I had to have it all figured out before meeting with her.”

During one of their meetings, Cook encouraged Barnes to apply for a university ambassador position. He ran to her open office space in Cottrell Hall with the results.

“I walked in acting like I had bad news, and she seemed very concerned,” remembers Barnes. “Then I showed her the email saying I had been selected. She laughed and gave me a hug.”


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