Schools aim to prevent second-year college stop-outs
Wednesday, November 8, 2023
Colleges nationwide are improving services for students to ensure they stay enrolled after the challenging first two years.
Administrators say their focus has long been freshman year and helping students adjust to a higher ed environment but a new effort aims to prevent so-called "stop-outs" during the second year, when students complete much of their core curriculum.
Michael Young, senior associate provost and chief data officer at Bridgewater State University, said the goal is to help students build a strong foundation.
"This project is really about preparing students to be ready to succeed," Young explained. "When they get into the depth of their major and feel ready to finish off their degree."
Young pointed out Bridgewater and 10 other schools will work with the Gardner Institute to also close equity gaps and ensure demographics or ZIP code don't determine student success.
All students at Bridgewater State have access to a faculty adviser who can offer direction on course selection, schedule or which major to pursue. Should the student require more individualized support, student navigators are available for more intensive interactions related to finances, or helping students receive care from the campus wellness center.
Young stressed post-pandemic, it is important to meet students where they are.
"We're simply going to try to go back and make sure that we've kept pace with the needs of the incoming student populations," Young emphasized. "To be both a welcoming environment and an environment where they can succeed."
Young added some students may still be catching up on academics and require extra support, while other students may have lost out on social development. Bridgewater will collaborate with other colleges, sharing data and ideas to create plans for student success.
Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.
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