ROAR Scholars Program Starts First Full Year

The College of Charleston’s ROAR Scholars program (Reach – Overcome – Achieve Results) is starting its first full academic year in assisting first generation, low income or disabled students. Free help is offered in the areas of study skills, advising, and group study, exposure to cultural events, personal financial education, career counseling and mentoring. The success motto in the program is, “Do not study harder, learn to study smarter. Maximize your full learning potential.” The program is funded through a five-year, $1.1 million TRiO grant ($220,000 per year).

“The ROAR Scholars program is vital for these students,” says Tom Holcomb, director of the ROAR Scholars program. “We directly interact with the students to give them access and guidance. First-generation college students have had less exposure to many aspects of higher education that their traditional peers are familiar with. We provide that additional support for them to be successful here at the College of Charleston.”

The first ROAR Scholars were accepted in February 2011 and now there are more than 50 participants with the capacity for up to 140. A counselor helps to develop an individualized action plan for each student and a peer mentor is assigned. Peer mentors organize and oversee study groups and workshops to help their mentees succeed academically, socially and personally at the College. They accompany the students to cultural events and hold “office hours” for one-on-one mentoring.

ROAR Scholar services include academic coaching, personal counseling, peer mentoring, career counseling and assessment, advising for transfer students, graduate school guidance, financial aid assistance, and workshops on financial literacy and a host of other topics. The ROAR Scholars staff not only provides program services, but are advocates for our students who are first generation, and low-income and students who have a documented physical and/or learning disability at the College of Charleston.

“ROAR Scholars is a home away from home for all of our students,” Holcombe says. “We have walk-in hours for counseling and encourage students to stop by to say hello. ROAR Scholars are exposed to a holistic and developmental model for success through academic preparation, career development, mental and physical well being, social engagement and global connectedness. This prepares students to not only be leaders, but to be change agents for a global society.”

For more information about the ROAR Scholar program, contact Tom Holcomb at 843.953.6435 or