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Mercy selects incoming frosh to test PACT

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Welcome to college. Here’s the admissions office. Here’s the financial aid office. Here’s your academic advisor’s office and a career office. Overwhelmed yet?

Mercy College knows college can seem daunting for first year students. That’s why the school has launched the Personalized Achievement Contact, nicknamed PACT.

PACT will simplify the college experience for a lucky number of Mercy students, pairing each with a single mentor responsible for administrative, financial, academic and career counsel.

“The students who participate in the Mercy College PACT will be provided unparalleled attention by professional staff solely dedicated to their success,” president Dr. Kimberly Cline said.

Mercy has selected a talented group of 50 incoming Spring 2009 students to pilot the PACT. The school will bring an additional 500 students into the program for Fall 2009.

“My goal is to assist the students and raise their self-confidence,” said Caitlin Krueger, a PACT mentor and 2004 Mercy alumnus. “I think my experience here makes me invaluable as a mentor. I got a lot from this college. To give back is exciting for me.”

Cline, who served as CFO for the State University of New York, joined Mercy last July. With PACT, she hopes to build on Mercy’s self-described hallmark, individualized education. The PACT emerged from student and faculty feedback.

Mercy’s various offerings are daunting, from career prep to sports and study abroad. Mercy is a career-oriented school, as the PACT will reflect. Students will work with their PACT mentors to develop a plan leading towards success in a particular career. As the program develops, Mercy could make off campus internships part of the PACT equation.

“What you’re trying to do is help students connect the dots between day to day college and their future careers,” Carolyn Tragni, Mercy’s executive dean for academic engagement. “With the PACT, mentors and students will partner to do that.”

An important element of the PACT will be its consistency. Mercy will reach out to students months before they first arrive on campus. PACT mentors and students will stick together for the duration, up to four years.

“Most colleges begin career counseling for students when they reach junior or senior year,” said William Martinov Jr., Mercy’s executive dean of student services. “The PACT is unique.”

PACT students will benefit from one-on-one coaching, public speaking opportunities and job placement services. Mercy will use e-portfolios to showcase the students’ work.

“This will be really awesome for each student,” Tragni said.

According to Tragni, Mercy will expose students from the Bronx to borough business and enterprise, unlocking a world of possibilities at home.

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