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School of Natural Sciences

About the EXCEL! Program

About the EXCEL! Program 

The EXCEL! Program within the School of Natural Sciences is another layer of academic support for Natural Science students at the University of California, Merced. EXCEL! Academic Coaches provide guidance and support to assist students with their academic success by providing insight and connection to the resources available to them. 

Academic Coach Service Goals* 

  • Develop a personal and collaborative relationship with SNS students in academic recovery. 
  • Provide support to help SNS students relate academic/educational goals to life (personal/professional) goals. 
  • Encourage SNS students to achieve self-awareness, such as identifying strengths, values, interests, purpose, and passions. 
  • Promote SNS student responsibility and the development of good decision-making skills toward a successful university experience. 
  • Assist with developing plans of action and holding SNS students accountable to achieve substantial results. 

What is Academic Coaching?

Although similar, conversations with an Academic Advisor may revolve around curriculum planning and promotion towards the degree completion progress, while Academic Coaches dive deeper to the "in-between" elements of higher education, such as: motivation, accountability, exploring options and providing individualized student support. As stated by the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA), "Academic Coaching is an advising approach that pushes the student to reflect and act on the range of goals, interests, and passions available in higher education."


What to expect in an Academic Coaching Session?

Academic coaching sessions are meant for students to become aware of their academic situation and allow students to think critically of support plans in order to become academically successful. With the guidance of an academic coach, topics may range from the following items, but are not limited to: 

  • Effective Time & Life Management 

  • Transition & Acclimation to University Life 

  • Connection to Campus Resources and/or Community Resources 

  • Explain low GPA and its consequences down the road 

  • How to avoid Academic Probation and Academic Dismissal 

  • How to recover from Subject to Academic Dismissal or Academic Probation Standing 

  • How to transition back to UC Merced when returning from an Educational Leave or being reinstated at the University. 

How to prepare for an Academic Coaching session: 

  • Be prepared to talk about obstacles that are impeding your academic success 
  • Be able to identify patterns and areas of insufficiency/success 
  • Be willing to share ideas to build on options for academic success 
  • Be ready to become accountable for your actions and goals 

Who are Academic Coaches?

Academic coaches work with students to help them bring out their academic best. Through one-on-one sessions, accountability awareness and strategic planning, academic coaches introduce students to techniques for managing time, studying effectively, building better habits, and much more.


Who do Academic Coaches Serve?

Academic Coaches serves students in thier academic pursuits and life attainments. Currently, the EXCEL! program serves students within the School of Natural Sciences (SNS). 

Schedule your 1:1 Academic Coaching Session with an EXCEL! Academic Coach, today!