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Survey of Bulls to Business Students: The Program Works

By Keith Morelli

Bulls to Business Students

TAMPA (August 13, 2018) -- The month-long program that kick-started the college careers of 31 select students is over and judging by the comments the students gave in a survey, the inaugural initiative accomplished its goals.

The best parts of the newly implemented Bulls to Business program, according to students who filled out the survey anonymously, included:

  • "The bonds made with other students."
  • "Having an on-campus living experiences before the fall semester."
  • "Developing a close connection with peers in majors similar to mine."
  • "The social aspect. Getting ahead of the game."
  • "Meeting new people and learning about business culture."

Bulls to Business, which allowed the incoming students to start their courses early to beat the fall crush, had some perks as well. They participated in some programs that normally aren't available to freshmen and they were able to bypass some of the soul-crushing courses they would have been required to take.

"This program is a way to attract high achieving students who may be considering attending other universities in the fall," said Jackie Nelson, senior director for the Muma College of Business Office of Undergraduate Studies. "What we offer is a chance to begin their college careers in the summer, so they already are invested with USF come the fall semester. They already are situated in a residence hall and have met new friends. They have important experiences under their belts, like meeting fellow incoming students, getting a course or two out of the way and touring various corporations.

"This is a success," she said, "and a program we will repeat again next summer."

The students lived together in Juniper-Poplar Hall, studied together and toured various corporations together.

"We are incredibly proud of the 31 students who chose to join us for four weeks and experience this brand new summer program," said Haleigh Prosia, program director with the Muma College of Business Corporate Mentor Program. "Based on the feedback of our students one of the main factors that contributed to the program's success was the strong community they created from being in class 9-to-5 almost every day and living in the same place with their peers.

"We hope that as a result of their participation," she said, "they will be better connected to academic resources and more intentional about getting involved on campus, pursing professional growth opportunities and seeking out internships in their field.

"We are excited to see the great things this group will achieve during their time at USF."

As the program drew to a close, the students gathered for pizza and refreshments earlier this month and talked about what they liked and what they would change.

Summarizing the surveys conclusions, Prosia said most of the students agreed they were more confident in their decisions to attend USF in the fall as a result of their participation in the summer program and that they would recommend the program to future incoming students.

A majority agreed they felt better prepared academically and socially for the fall semester.

What lessons did they learn? Most said interviewing and résumé writing skills, how to conduct elevator pitches and emanate self-confidence.

"Amazing experience and exposure," one student wrote. "So thankful for the tours for showing me a new world I never would have seen until after graduation ... "

Their favorite part of the experience? Twenty-two said making new friends.

The program will be offered again next summer, but may be tweaked a bit based on the survey, Prosia said.

"I believe we will be working with our campus partners more to introduce the students to different resources on campus," she said. "Another thing is to engage them more through some programs and activities outside the classroom each week."