Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions

About the program

What is the Alpha Program?
  • A program to help first year students succeed in college.
  • An opportunity for academic, co-curricular, and social engagement.
  • A place to feel supported and at home at WMU.
What services does the Alpha Program provide?
  • Scheduled appointments with a program advisor to discuss goals and possible career interests.
  • Walk-in meetings with a program advisor to discuss any issues that might arise.
  • Academic advising for both undecided students and those who have already picked a major.
  • A 2-credit first year experience class (FYE 2100) and a 1-credit spring engagement class.
  • Peer mentors - former Alpha students who help current Alpha students through their first year.
  • Information on accessing useful campus resources.
Who is my advisor, and what do they do?

Students will have an assigned advisor, either Walter or Liz, who will help them throughout their first year. In the fall, students will receive an email from their advisor with a link to their calendar so that they can setup appointments, or they can stop by the Alpha Program office in Ellsworth Hall. Appointments are encouraged, as office hours will vary!
Walter Malone
Liz Bartles

Are Alpha students on probation?

No, Alpha students are not on probation! Students are regularly admitted on the condition that they participate in the Alpha Program.

Student participation in the Alpha Program

Why have I been asked to participate?

Students invited to participate in the Alpha program possess potential for success in college, but also have high school GPA and/or ACT/SAT scores that are below the average of incoming first year students. The Alpha Program aims to provide support and access to resources during the critical first year of college.

Am I required to participate in the Alpha Program?

Yes, your admission offer is contingent on your participation in the program.

What restrictions are there for Alpha students?
  • No Greek organizations in first semester
  • Do not work more than 15 hours per week
  • Consult with advisor before dropping or adding classes
However, Alpha students CAN...
  • apply to fine arts programs
  • play varsity sports
  • join student organizations at anytime
  • declare a major in spring semester if GPA is above a 2.0

Required classes for Alpha students

Which classes are required for Alpha students?

Students are required to take FYE 2100 (2 credits) in the fall and UNV 1030 (1 credit) in the spring. Additionally, all WMU students are required to take certain classes based on placement (determined by math, writing, and reading ACT scores and high school GPA). Placement in these classes is decided by admissions, not the Alpha Program.

What is FYE 2100?

FYE 2100 (2 credits, Fall semester) is a course designed to help students develop a sense of responsibility for their own education and learning. This seminar will introduce students to University resources and will provide support during the first semester of transition to the University. The FYE 2100 seminar will include weekly class meetings, sharing a common reading experience, a project-based assignment, written assignments, and attendance at selected University events.

What is UNV 1030?

UNV 1030 (1 credit, Spring semester) gives students the option of taking an in-class Leadership Development course or an outside the classroom Alpha Engagement course. Leadership students will learn about group development and leadership theories, and will improve their communication skills. In the Engagement course, students will increase their personal, social, and career awareness, and complete assignments designed to help them develop in these areas. Students who earn below a 2.0 in their fall semester will take UNV 1030: Academic Recovery, a course designed to help students remove the obstacles blocking their success.

Peer mentoring

What is an Alpha Peer Mentor?

Each first year student will have a dedicated peer mentor - a sophomore, junior, or senior student who was in the Alpha program in their freshman year, and has volunteered to help this year's freshman class adjust to college life. They attend Alpha Program events, work with students in their Alpha classes, help out during course advising, and, most importantly, are there for Alpha students when they need help. Mentors connect with first year students through email, text, phone, and social networking. First year students are encouraged to get together with their mentor to study, have lunch, or just hang out.

Do students have to participate in peer mentoring?

Yes, it's part of the conditions of admittance to WMU. Students should see Josh or Robyn if there are any issues with this requirement.

Alpha contract

What is the Alpha contract?

The Alpha Program contract is a written agreement between Exploratory Advising and the Alpha program, the student, and his or her parent(s) or guardian(s). All students wishing to participate in the Alpha program must return a signed copy of the Alpha contract to the Alpha Program Coordinator. The signed contract grants permission for the Program Coordinator to share information related to a student's academic progress with a parent or guardian.

Why is the Alpha Contract needed?

The Alpha Contract is necessary for two reasons: First, it signifies the student's agreement to participate in the program. And second, it functions as a waiver allowing the program coordinator to share (otherwise confidential) academic information with a parent or guardian.


Alpha Program
1275 Ellsworth Hall
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5303 USA
(269) 387-4410 | (269) 387-4418 Fax