"Because I completed my progress report, my professors now know my name. They told me that it shows to them that I care about my education" - MESA Creator
Interaction with faculty is necessary for student success: it helps you to build an important relationship with your professors that will help you to be more successful in your classes. Remember, it is your professors who give you a final grade in your classes, they can write letters of recommendation for you, and they can be your mentors!
The MESA Program requires student progress reports every 4 weeks.
- The 4-week report is an icebreaker to build a relationship with faculty and learn your early progress in classes
- The 8-week report identifies your progress half-way through the semester
- The 12-week report confirms your class status heading into finals
Each progress report has 2 sides. The front side is completed by your professors, where they rate your progress (Above Average, Average, Below Average), indicate if tutoring is needed, and provide any comments. The back side is completed by each MESA Creator, where you check off the Foundation for Learning resources that you use to improve your learning, and evaluate your effort as a Creator or Victim during the reporting period.
4-week Report (PDF)
8-week Report (PDF)
12-week Report (PDF)
Learn more about the "Benefits of Progress Reports" in the following video, featuring MESA Creator Rogelio Estrada!
Do you build relationships with your professors? Do you keep track of your progress in classes?
Did you know? Many students don’t speak with their professors and do not know their true progress in classes! Don’t let this happen to you.
"Lessons Learned" from MESA Creators
The MESA "culture of success" provides MESA Creators with many powerful tools for success. However, all MESA Creators must accept responsibility to learn the use of the tools and take action to use them. A list of 14 resources and tools in the MESA Foundation for Learning is included in each progress report. Based on student progress reports, here are the most important "resources and tools":
- BPR (Bullet Point Reading) - All MESA Creators must come to class prepared, and BPR is the best method for this because it helps to move information to long-term memory. BPR typically takes 30 minutes or less, and the best time to do BPR is on the weekend - leaving the week free for other things like classes, homework, study groups, etc! If you need help with BPR, please revisit the BPR training PowerPoint on the MESA Center computers, read about BPR on the MESA website, pick up a BPR bookmarker in the MESA Center, ask a MESA tutor or ask another MESA Creator. There is no excuse for not coming to class prepared.
- Big Picture Approach to Problem Solving - In the MESA culture, there is only 1 way to solve problems - and we call it the "Big Picture Approach to Problem Solving"! The Big Picture Approach has 2 parts: Part 1 - See the Big Picture & Part 2 - Solve the Problem. Fortunately, all MESA Creators are trained on how to see the Big Picture - you must be able to answer 3 questions: 1 - What is the Concept? 2 - What is the S.A.M. (i.e. steps to follow)? 3 - What is the Variation, and how does the Variation affect the S.A.M.? Also, remember the MESA Story for Learning, seeing the Big Picture is how the story ends! If you need help with the Big Picture Approach, please revisit the Big Picture training PowerPoint on the MESA Center computers, read about the Big Picture Approach to Problem Solving on the MESA website, pick up a Big Picture bookmarker in the MESA Center, read the MESA Story for Learning on the MESA website, ask a MESA tutor or ask another MESA Creator. All MESA Creators must challenge themselves to work at the "Big Picture" level to truly be successful.
- Online Lecture Videos - There are many helpful learning resources available onlline to MESA Creators. The MESA website includes a list of 14 online resources, including lecture videos! All MESA Creators must take responsibility for becoming familiar with the resources and making them part of their toolbox. "Work smarter, not harder" Tip: If you find lecture videos that are helpful, then watch the videos BEFORE you BPR. This introduction to the new material will help you later when you BPR, go to class, review lecture notes and do homework! If you need help finding online lecture videos, please see "Lecture Videos and Online Resources" on the MESA website, ask a MESA tutor or ask another MESA Creator.
- Study Groups (Common Classes) - Study groups are important. It helps to have the support of 1 or more study partners. The MESA Program helps to facilitate study groups by providing a list of Common Classes for MESA Creators. The list is available in the MESA Center, and it includes the names of MESA Creators in math, engineering and science classes. MESA Creators make the best study partners because they know the MESA culture and learning strategies. Caution: While study groups are very helpful, MESA Creators are expected to know how to study alone. It is more effective if you can first study by yourself, then meet with your study group to share ideas. This ability will be very important when you transfer to the university. If you need help with Common Classes, please ask a MESA tutor or ask another MESA Creator.
- Professor Office Hours - There is nothing to fear about Professor Office Hours - professors are people too! On the contrary, take advantage of Professor Office Hours - it is called self advocacy! Office hours are a perfect time to see your professors. Professors can make learning simple and fun: they can help you to truly understand the material, and they are also the ones who give you your grades. If they don't see you, then they probably don't know how much you care about your learning and your grades. Research studies show that interaction with faculty is an important factor for student success. Tip: Professors can help you to answer the 3 Big Picture questions: Concept, S.A.M. and Variation! If you need help with Professor Office Hours, then ask a study partner to go with you or ask for suggestions from a MESA tutor or other MESA Creators.
- Tutoring - Tutoring is another helpful learning resource. Tutors can help you to answer the 3 Big Picture questions: Concept, S.A.M. and Variation! Caution: Tutoring can help with Big Picture questions, but it cannot replace BPR, reviewing lecture notes after class, lecture videos, professor office hours, etc. If you need tutoring help, please see a MESA tutor, a tutor in the Tutorial Center or other MESA Creators.
- Time Management - Knowing how to manage your time is crtical for success. Did you know? Assuming you get 7 hours of sleep each night, you have 119 "working" hours each week. What do you do with your time? For MESA Creators, time management includes classes, BPR, RLN (review lecture notes), homework, study groups, professor office hours, work, etc. It must also include "ME-time"! Me-time IS your reward for your hard work: it is your personal time to relax and do anything that you enjoy doing. Me-time IS NOT school-time or work-time. Be selfish with your me-time: it is necessary to maintain a healthy balance in your life. What tool do you use to manage your time? The MESA Program offers a weekly time planner. However, the choice is up to you - choose a tool that is easy to use and works best for you. If you need help with time management, please pick up a Time Managemetn bookmarker in the MESA Center, visit the Tutorial Center in L-205 for a workshop on time management, ask a MESA tutor or ask another MESA Creator. You may also revisit the BPR training PowerPoint on the MESA Center computers for a video on the MESA method for "organizing class notes" and tips on time management.
MESA Law #3 challenges MESA Creators to "work smarter, not harder"! Be aware of these lessons learned, and use this knowledge to increase your success. That's what MESA Creators do!