After finishing my first semester of college, I was surrounded by a variety of mentors that helped me efficiently navigate the resources that Michigan’s campus has to offer. Much of these mentors came from PILOT a student org I decided to join after a college transition program I attended (I’ll get to that later). PILOT was founded to allow a diverse collection of undergraduate students to strive towards a broader mastery of leadership development, community building, and have a greater understanding of the University from an organizational perspective. At PILOT, we enhance and apply the information we learn by taking on projects.
Our biggest project is The Big House Program (BHP). This three-part program aims to assist talented high school seniors from marginalized backgrounds in their college application process with hopes of them becoming future Wolverines. The Big House Program brings high school seniors to the University on three separate occasions throughout their senior year. Over the course of the program, we help the students apply to the University, network with professors and administrators, shadow students with similar academic interests, and learn about different opportunities at the University by providing better insight into the college experience.
I was a part of BHP during my senior year, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. Not only was I able to successfully transition to UM, but I became part of a large variety of communities and support systems. I was surprised with how much I knew about UM; while some freshmen around me could not navigate their way to CC Little, I could name a personal connection I have to staff in most offices on campus.
Now, I am the BHP director, and I hope to give back to the next incoming students the same that I received from the program. I want all first-generation students to feel as comfortable as possible at this University- and most importantly- I want them to know how to ask for help. We have reached out to over 200 rising high school seniors so far, and I am extremely excited to meet the next cohort of the program. I wish that all 200 applicants could take advantage of our resources, but with enough University support, I can see a cohort that big in the near future.
Looking forward to BHP and Forever Go Blue!