Compass Program

Welcome to the Compass Program!

Merrimack’s Compass Program supports students in their transition to college by providing opportunities for academic and personal growth.

Designed to set students on the path to success, the Compass Program creates a personalized learning community experience with a powerful network of support, academic coaching and dedicated professors.

Best Fit For Success

Merrimack’s Admission Committee reviews all aspects of an applicant’s admission materials to identify promising candidates for the program. Students selected exhibit the following qualities:

  • An academic record that shows promise, potential and dynamic experiences.
  • A demonstrated willingness to build skills and knowledge.
  • A commitment to working closely with instructors as they challenge you throughout the program.

Compass Program Benefits

One-and-one coaching

One-on-one academic coaching allows first years to explore the different opportunities on campus to enhance your major and personal goals.

Upper Class Peer Mentors

Upperclass peer mentors assist first year Compass students with everything from college advice to tutoring support.

Compass Learning Spaces

The Compass Program has dedicated learning spaces specifically for classes, studying and group work.

Dedicated Compass Faculty

Dedicated Compass professors teach skills for living a purposeful life, including tools that help students navigate professional and personal settings.

Individualized Instruction

Small cohort classes allow Compass students to receive individualized instruction from our dedicated Compass professors.

Group Cohort Meetings

Regular, small group cohort meetings help students build their network and make friends on campus.

Compass FAQs

What kinds of classes do I have to take?

You’ll spend your first year immersed in a curriculum of both core and introductory courses in your chosen major. Half of these are taken with your Compass peers in classes that are optimally sized for student success and include coordinated study groups and peer leader support. These courses count towards your general education requirements and go towards your degree completion just like any other courses you’d typically take freshman year.

Is Compass a one year program?

The Compass Program courses take place during your freshman year, so academically it is only a one year program. However, certain Compass resources—such as academic coaching and the Compass Suite—are available for you to use all four years.

How will the Compass program benefit me?

Compass is a community where you are able to get real feedback tailored to your coursework and your specific needs. Whether you’re looking for a helping hand or your next big challenge, the Compass team of dedicated academic coaches, peer leaders, faculty and students are your go-to for whatever you want to tackle next.

Your First Year At-A-Glance

Each semester, students take two Compass Program courses that meet the general education curriculum requirements all students must fulfill, as well as two courses in their major.

1st Semester Example:

  1. Compass Class: Mindset, Self and Expression
  2. Compass Class First Year Writing
  3. General Education Requirement
  4. Course in your major

2nd Semester Example:

  1. Compass Class Conflict Resolution
  2. Compass Class Reading & Writing Intensive
  3. Course in your major
  4. Course in your major

The courses taken during your first year as part of the Compass Program count towards the 32
credits that are needed to fulfill Merrimack’s general education requirements.

These courses help you build towards the timely completion of your degree, prepare you for
higher-level courses in your major and set you up for long-term success as a dynamic and skilled professional.

The Compass suite is located on the third floor of McQuade Library, across from the elevator.

Contact the Kelley Bateman, Director of the Compass Program at or 978-837-5039 or email

Compass Student Spotlights

Neil Lodi '21

Compass Student
Major: Business Administration

““During my time here, I loved Merrimack for the sense of community and how friendly everyone was on campus. The Compass Program changed my way of thinking and taught me how to become a good student.”

Laurel Barbosa

Laurel Barbosa '23

Compass Alum
Major: Human Services and Human Development

“The Compass Program is what inspired me to attend Merrimack! I am so thankful for all the support the program has given me. The best part has been developing better time management skills and forming friendships with other students in the program.”

Lindsay Tavano '23

Compass Alum
Major: Business Administration

“From the moment I came to summer orientation it was clear there was an army of support surrounding me in the Compass Program. I built fast connections with staff I still utilize to this day, was greeted by intelligent professors who taught me skills I will never forget, and most importantly made the best friends I could ever ask for. While facing so many changes, at such a dynamic time of my life, Compass was the foundation I had longed for.”

Erik Fudge '27

Compass Student
Major: Computer Science

“Ever since I started in the Compass program, everyone has been so friendly and welcoming. I’m extremely grateful for all the support from the Compass success coaches and professors. All the support from staff, faculty, and even students have made me feel at home. Because of them I am passionate about achieving my goals and completing my work.”

Maria Lindberg '27

Compass Student
Major: Psychology

“Being in the Compass program has helped me expand my mindset and has also led me to trust and believe in myself more than I ever have. Before Compass, I had a fixed mindset but through this program I’ve taken what I’ve learned in Compass and applied it to my life now. My organization and time management skills have also greatly improved especially with my classes and work load. I’m very grateful for the lessons that Compass has taught me, I now have a much better balance between my social life, homework, and hockey.”

Grayson Poole '25

Compass Student
Major: Psychology

“Compass helped me mature as a college student by teaching me a huge lesson: life isn’t going to stop, the only thing that stops is you. Through the Compass program, I’ve learned to rise to the challenges of all my responsibilities and I’ve learned to manage my time more efficiently. The staff really care about the students and take their work seriously.”

Alex Collins '27

Compass Student
Major: Accounting

The Compass Program gave me priceless resources that helped me comprehend and actively participate in my coursework in compass and my other classes. I gained a fresh enthusiasm for learning by discovering how to analyze difficult reading through the many lessons we had. In addition, the program gave me useful note taking techniques that formed the foundation of my success in my other classes.