Life Coaching and Academic Advising

Your goals are our goals.

The Student Success mission is to engage, empower, and support you to be successful in pursuit of your academic and personal goals. One way we do this is through first-year life coaching and academic advising.

All incoming freshmen are assigned a Certified Life Coach who becomes their person for selecting courses, exploring major options, and adjusting to college life through the first academic year.

Students transferring into Union College with 24+ college credit hours receive academic advising from a faculty advisor in their major, and are welcome to request life coaching as they adjust to life at Union College.

Additional support is provided through Tutoring, Disability Information, and Career Services.

Meet your goals with a certified life coach.

Student Success provides students with individualized support to get the most out of their Union College experience. Certified life coaches help students in their college journey from specific tasks ("How do I approach this assignment?") to general questions ("What do I want to accomplish in life?").

Some common goals assist in providing tools, direction, and sustainable outcomes for first-year college students, including:

  • Identify growth areas, then set and obtain goals related goals.
  • Monitor and improve academic performance including study skills, test-taking, and more.
  • Identify and use resources within Student Success and across the Union College campus.
  • Explore major and career options to clarify path and declare major.

What is life coaching?

Life coaching is also available to assist students who may find themselves on Academic Probation or Academic Alert. This may become part of their academic probation plan that is created between the Associate VP of Academic Initiatives, the Executive Director of Student Success, and the student. Coaching is designed to assist the student in creating a plan to be successful and move towards being removed from probation status.

Life coaching is a collaboration between the coach and the student. It is an individualized process to help students identify their scholastic or personal goals and support students toward achieving these goals by providing structure, support, feedback, and encouragement.

Coaching is not therapy. Therapy deals with healing psychological issues and is generally long-term and intensive, dealing with personal history as well as cognitive and behavioral development. Coaching is proactive goal-setting and does not deal with psychological issues. Coaching acknowledges personal history but focuses on skill development and implementation of new strategies that benefit the student in achieving their goals and becoming more fulfilled and better equipped to meet the daily challenges of college life.

In coaching, the coach and student design an alliance together that is synergistic in nature. They co-engineer the process as a team so as to avoid a situation of “nagging.” The roles of each are clearly defined in the beginning. Together they decide what to do and how to do it. A system of accountability is set up that is comfortable for both.

Students who meet with a life coach design a coaching plan that fits the goals of the student. Some examples might be: Increase work productivity, be a step ahead through organization, and better manage and balance time.

Students are assigned a life coach after they pay their confirmation deposit for enrollment. Coaching is available to other students by request and per availability of Student Success staff.

What is academic advising?

During your freshman year at Union, your life coach is also your academic advisor. Similar to coaching, advising is also a collaboration between the advisor and student. While coaching focuses on a variety of goals chosen by the student, advising is all about choosing courses and making an academic plan that aligns with requirements laid out in the Academic Bulletin.

During the freshmen year, this will focus on fulfilling general education requirements and prerequisites for the student's chosen major. At the end of the freshmen year, students will be connected with a faculty advisor for their major who will be able to continue academic advising through degree completion.

Spark Services

Some students may need additional supports in their adjustment to Union College. Spark Services provide opportunities for students to thrive in their college experience.

Ignite Program

Ignite is a performance-based program that provides specialized academic support through weekly meetings with an academic coach. During weekly coaching, students will discuss strategies, methods, and different aids to help build their academic, study, and testing skills, as well as form a balanced schedule for a successful transition to college life.

Ignite (formerly known as FE and ICE ) provides academic opportunity for students who do not meet the traditional enrollment requirement of a High School GPA at 2.5 or above.

Participation in Ignite

Students accepted into the Ignite program have a High School GPA of 2.49 or below, and must complete the following requirements:

  • Sign the coaching agreement
  • Meet weekly with the Academic Coach
  • Take SPRK100
  • Take 12-17 credits

Requirements to declare major:

  • Complete one semester of weekly meetings with Academic Coach
  • Complete one semester at a 2.5 GPA
  • Take 12-17 credits

Completion of Ignite

To complete the Ignite program, the student must achieve the following:

  • Successful course completion of 24 credit hours.
  • GPA 2.0 at the end of the first year.
  • Minimum of one semester of weekly Academic Coaching completed.


Student Success provides free tutoring to all students for any class offered at Union College. Tutoring options include pre-scheduled group tutoring sessions, and one-on-one peer tutoring arranged with the student. Submit the online tutor request if you are interested in receiving tutoring.