Senior history major finds his stride with help of College Now program
Growing up in Westport, MA, Henrique Melo was already familiar with UMass Dartmouth as a senior at Westport Junior/Senior High School. He believed UMassD represented his best opportunity to improve his curricular capability and allow him to make a difference within his field of study.
Describe UMassD in one word
How did you decide on your major?
"At first, I was unsure about what I wanted to do when I came to UMassD, but it was always in the back of my mind that I wanted to do something with history because I was passionate and interested in the discipline. Taking history classes at UMassD has strengthened my interest greatly and it really stuck with me throughout my academic career here."
What's your favorite thing about UMassD?
"My favorite things about UMass Dartmouth are the opportunities to make connections and relationships with faculty and classmates. I loved having small class sizes, as it was easier to make these types of connections."
College Now is an alternative admissions program that provides students with extra support to achieve college success. With the support of a College Now counselor and peer mentor, and additional tutoring and academic support readily available, College Now students receive a helping hand in the transition to college life.
What does being involved in College Now entail?
"College Now allows individuals who didn't perform quite as well in high school an opportunity to redeem themselves in college. The College Now staff is always there to support and motivative students to do their very best at UMassD. When I joined College Now, I was a first-generation student, and I was a bit worried about what life would be like during my first year in college, but I overcame my doubts as I received the support and guidance I needed to succeed.
"The program allowed me to be successful. Even after graduating from the College Now program, I continued to keep in touch with my advisor, Laurajane Fitzsimons, about how I was doing and my academic success within the history program. The one saying I will always remember is, 'once College Now, always College Now.'"
Do you recommend other students get involved in it?
"I strongly recommend prospective students look into this program, as it was a life-changer for me, and it played a big part in my experience entering college. They lay out the foundation, and you follow through with the plan."
How easily did you adapt to college learning?
"I felt very compelled and comfortable once I got to know my surroundings at UMass Dartmouth, especially when it came to taking different classes. I adapted and learned how to become an effective student."
Keys to success
Four years later, Melo graduates with the highest GPA (3.8) in the College Now program, and has positioned himself for even further study after graduating.
Any recommendations on how to make the most of your college experience?
"My success in college was quite simple; doing everything required of me, and meeting with my professors and advisors to supplement that. Another thing that worked for me was stepping out of my comfort zone to get things done. I recommend students put themselves out there and do not let fear hold you back. Fear prevents many of us from carrying out our goals. Whatever it is, you just got to do it."
Are there any accomplishments you're particularly proud of?
"I'm very proud about my performance in college – especially my grades, as I worked extremely hard to do my best and it really paid off and I learned so much."
Have you had a favorite professor?
"My favorite professors were Assistant Teaching Professor Ilana Offenberger and Professor Brian Williams. They are so passionate about their subject and that has resonated with me ever since. I have become inspired through their work."
How do you know UMassD was the right choice for you?
"UMassD has offered me everything that I needed in order to succeed as an individual."
Is there one thing you'll miss most about UMassD?
"One thing I'll be missing is hanging out in the LARTS lounge with my friends."
What's next for you?
"I don't want to end my educational journey just yet, I'm applying to graduate school at UMass Dartmouth to get my master’s degree in teaching. I would love to become a middle school history teacher and focus on 19-20th century European History/World History."