Community colleges across the country grapple with the problem of student retention. & nbsp While community colleges provide affordable and easily accessible education, many of the students who attend community colleges are not prepared for college. In addition, many students face additional challenges, such as insufficient financial resources, and family and job demands. Community colleges can increase a student’s retention by implementing a number of programs.
Improve student retention at community colleges
- Recruitment Programs – Retention begins with recruitment. & nbsp Students need information to make informed decisions. & nbsp In many cases, this is a student’s first college experience and they need the information to successfully navigate the admissions process. & nbsp They also need information early on in order to understand the decisions they will have to make in choosing classes, majors and other activities. & nbsp Making initial contact with the school an enjoyable experience starts a student off on the right foot.
- Evaluation of Programs – Initial evaluation of programs are necessary for proper placement of students in appropriate classes. Many incoming community college students lack the skills necessary for success in college-level courses. & nbsp Evaluation tests allow placement in the corresponding courses. & nbsp This helps prevent students from getting discouraged. & nbsp Proper placement increases success and improves retention.
- orientation –Well-developed counseling programs to help increase student retention and success. & nbsp These programs help avoid disappointment down the road. & nbsp Successful counseling programs include familiarizing students with available services and showing them how to locate these services. Orientation programs should include introductions to key staff members, such as financial aid officers, special staff and directors of mentoring programs. & nbsp A well-conceived orientation program will also provide you with information on student organizations such as student government, honor societies and athletic activities. &
- Learning Support Programs – Inadequate college preparation is a significant factor in student retention. & nbsp While the evaluation of the programs are intended to place students in the appropriate courses, many of the students require additional help to achieve success. & nbsp This help can come through learning support programs. Learning assistance labs, study groups, one-on-one tutoring classes and student success workshops that have been shown to improve student retention rates.
- Faculty/Student Programs –The development of faculty-student relationships can also increase student retention at community colleges. One-on-One counseling with a faculty member offers students individualized attention. & nbsp This allows the correct course options. & nbsp Student interaction with faculty also fosters academic success. & nbsp In addition to advising, mentoring programs between faculty and students also increases retention.
- Learning Communities – Placing students in learning communities helps students build a network of peers, which improves a student’s retention. & nbsp In learning communities students are enrolled in a block of classes together. & nbsp This creates a shared educational experience. & nbsp support peer groups to encourage excellence in the classroom and attendance outside the classroom in the form of study groups and support networks.
- Mentoring – mentoring programs provide students with encouragement from peers. & nbsp Students can be excellent role models and are uniquely qualified to help other students. While students may be uncomfortable talking to staff or teachers, mentors may be seen as less threatening.’ Peer mentoring programs also increase interaction with other students you assist in retention.
- Internship/Co-op Programs – Many community college students have financial and career concerns. & nbsp Internships and co-op programs make the connection between the classroom and the workplace. & nbsp These programs encourage academic excellence and retention of students can see the result of their hard work. & nbsp These programs can lead to full-time employment after graduation (or part-time employment in college), easing some of the financial issues that affect retention.