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Empowering Success: Things You Should Know About UTI’s Student Coaching Program

Jul 17, 2023 ·

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Transitioning to a technical trade school can be overwhelming for anyone. It’s a time of excitement, change, and growth, but it can also be challenging to navigate, especially for those individuals who feel as though school has not been their strong suit in the past. At Universal Technical Institute, we understand the importance of providing a supportive and nurturing environment for our students. That’s why we've introduced a comprehensive student coaching program specifically designed for those enrolled in our Automotive and Diesel Technology programs.

This innovative initiative aims to equip students with the skills they need to excel both in their studies and after graduation.1 “We’re here to motivate, inspire, support, and guide these students to success,” says Roslyn Young, Interim Director of Student Engagement.

Our dedicated coaches help students develop essential skills, connect them with support resources, and create a sense of belonging within the UTI community.

Since its launch in September 2022, the coaching program has been making a positive impact on many students’ success during their journey at UTI. Here’s seven things you should know about our student coaching program.

It’s available at every campus that offers our Automotive and Diesel Technology training.

The coaching program focuses on working closely with students throughout their first five courses in the Auto or Diesel program. The curriculum, similar to most UTI programs, requires an online learning component, in addition to the hands-on lab experience.18

“A component of the Auto and Diesel programs is online learning, and a lot of our students are hands-on learners. Balancing the online and hands-on lab component of our program can be a challenge for some students. Our focus is helping them to see how the online aligns with the hands-on component and how they can benefit from both,” says Amber Garner, Senior Student Support Coach.

This program is available to Auto and Diesel students through the completion of their first five courses.

While coaches would love to see and work with every student that is enrolled at UTI, this program is currently focused on those enrolled in the Automotive and Diesel programs. Due to the rigor and pace of these programs, students may struggle with the transition. The student coaching program was created to help mitigate those challenges. Oftentimes, coaches inquire about their students' academic pasts to gain insight into how they can help them in the transition to technical training. Coaches assist students in developing skills and strategies to stay on track toward graduation and ultimately begin pursuing a career.1

Automotive Technology students share a laugh while training in a lab at UTI Bloomfield.

“A lot think they aren’t traditional learners but we find out they weren’t interested in what they were learning in the past. We give them the tools, resources and help they need so they can come to the realization that they can do this,” says Amber.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Coaches work with students based on their needs.

Through one-on-one sessions, coaches help students uncover their "why" – the driving force behind their passion for the automotive or diesel industry. This understanding enables the coach to best cater to each student’s individual needs. Whether that’s personalized success plans, goal-setting sessions, or regular check-ins about external factors in their lives.

“All of us coaches are mindful of the student and their personality so we can best assess their needs,” says Maris Phillips, Senior Student Support Coach.

Students meet regularly with their coach to ensure they are on the path toward success.

Coaches are available for face-to-face meetings or virtual support via phone call when needed. This adaptability ensures that every student has access to personalized guidance tailored to their unique circumstances.

Coaches want their students to succeed beyond the classroom.

“The things that we’re trying to teach you are not just for your success here at UTI. It goes well beyond that into your personal and professional life,” says Maris.1

In addition to academic guidance, the coaching program also addresses essential life skills, such as time management, stress management, staying disciplined, study tips and much more.

“I want students to know that they always have someone in their corner. And that they can do this,” says Amber.

Coaches want to help students get the support they need regardless of what the situation may be.

We understand that life doesn’t stop because you have decided to train for a career. There are many external factors that can cause stress and therefore distraction, or difficulty in prioritizing your academics. Coaches are ready to offer advice or suggest helpful resources, helping students feel supported during their journey at UTI.

Our coaches work closely with other departments across campuses to ensure students receive the support they need to overcome challenges. “There’s a lot of resources here and we are the first point of contact. If you don’t know where you need to go, you can come to us and we’ll get you to where you need to go to get that support,” says Maris.

“We’re giving them the tools that they may not have received in traditional schools so they can succeed.”

Coaches are continuously being creative in their approach to helping students find success. “We try to teach them in the moment,” says Amber. Whether that’s sitting down with a calendar and planning every hour of the day to aid with time management, handing out highlighters in class to improve their notes, or suggesting helpful apps to ensure they make it to class on time.

“We take the guesswork out of the steps they (the students) need to succeed,” says senior Coach, Maris.

The student coaching program continues to receive positive feedback from both students and parents as a testament to the program's effectiveness. Students have expressed gratitude for the unwavering support they receive, with many stating that they couldn't have achieved their goals without their coaches' guidance.

At UTI, we're committed to empowering our students to reach their full potential – and our dedicated coaches are here every step of the way. For more information, click here to get in touch with one of our Representatives.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the coaching program?

The student coaching program is intended to help students transition into trade school successfully during their first five completed courses. The goal of the program is to provide intentional outreach, support, and engagement to students with the hopes of improving the student experience, course-over-course completion, program completion and career readiness.1This program is made up of a team of Student Support Coaches located at each campus.

What is a Student Support Coach?

A Student Support Coach provides individualized outreach to students who may need more support or indicate at-risk factors. They help students learn strategies for achieving educational goals and overcoming obstacles. These coaches help students to take ownership of their education by developing the skills, behaviors, and attributes needed as they move forward in their program and beyond.

How does a student sign up to participate in this program?

Students enrolled in the Automotive or Diesel Technology programs are automatically enrolled in the student coaching program.

When is a student assigned to a Student Support Coach?

About two weeks prior to their start dates, students are contacted by an admissions representative to introduce them to the program, familiarize them with the resources available, and help them understand how coaches will help support their academic journey. Students are officially assigned to a Student Support Coach approximately one week before their actual start date.

Is every student assigned to a Student Support Coach?

No. Currently, the coaches only work with students enrolled in the Automotive or Diesel programs (electives and other department groups are not currently included). The primary focus includes students who show at-risk factors early in their program; however, workshops and other tools are available to all new students in their first five courses, regardless of academic progress.

When does the Student Support Coach first interact with a new student?

Students will receive information about their Student Support Coaches from their admissions representative and will meet their coaches during student orientation. Students will have an opportunity to have a one-on-one discussion with their coach in orientation or within their first course. Every student meets with a coach for an introduction meeting to help establish rapport and discuss the coaching role.

How long does a Student Support Coach work with a student?

A student will work with a coach until the student successfully completes five courses.

What tools does a Student Support Coach use to help students?

Coaches will start by walking students through navigating Blackboard during orientation. Additionally, the coach will provide workshops and support related to time management, test preparation, study skills, balancing school and work, and other life factors. SmarterMeasure is an added resource that the coaches will utilize.

What is SmarterMeasure?

SmarterMeasure is a tool that allows coaches to pinpoint areas where a student needs immediate coaching and helps coaches foster deeper, immediate connection with students.

During the Blackboard orientation session, students also complete a short survey from SmarterMeasure that enables coaches to more effectively work with students based on identified areas. Coaches work with students to develop an action plan designed to help them succeed!

How often does a Student Support Coach work with a student during a three-week course?

During a three-week course, a student will engage with a coach as much as once per week given their at-risk factors and performance. Students can also reach out whenever support is needed.

What are at-risk factors?

At-risk factors can be low quiz scores, pacing behind on interactive online learning and other online assignments, low attendance, professionalism infractions, and/or external life factors.

Is it mandatory for a student to work with a Student Support Coach?

If a student enrolled in the coaching program shows at-risk factors, the student should expect engagement from their coach. It is the focus of the coach to offer support and, if possible, alleviate at-risk concerns. Coaches collaborate with other campus departments such as Financial Aid10, Students Services, Career Services1 and Education to get further support with at-risk factors.

What happens when a student completes five courses?

Upon completion of five courses, the coach will provide the student with a transcript of academic performance during those courses and a certificate of completion. We want to help you celebrate your success!

From there, the coaches transition their students to a Student Affairs Advisor. Students will work with an advisor for the remainder of their program. Student Affairs Advisors will provide academic advising support to students who continue to show at-risk factors.

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1) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

2) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit

10) Financial aid, scholarships and grants are available to those who qualify. Awards vary due to specific conditions, criteria and state.

18) UTI now offers all of its automotive, diesel, motorcycle and marine technician training in a blended learning format consisting of online lecture courses along with in-person, hands-on lab training.

Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.


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