Keeping Freshman on the Path to Success
It has long been known that a key factor in ensuring that college students graduate is making sure they survive and thrive in their freshman year. While it might seem to some that as higher education is pressed to provide completion data to students, parents and the federal government, they have taken a new approach in aiding freshman. This isn’t entirely so, as Kim Reid, writing for the website Encoura, an organization which focuses on college and career planning, points out.
A broader view of academic advising
In her post, “If You Want Performance, Hire a Coach - Keeping Freshmen on the Path to Success” Reid examines, the role of the student advisor which has traditionally been filled by, “faculty, professional staff, students, and alumni,” and argues for what she sees as a much needed transformation of the advisor’s role.
Citing Eduventures’ Student Success Ratings, “improved advising, mentoring, or coaching” is tied at 95% with “improved academic support services” as the two most important changes most likely to help students succeed.
Beginning with the end in mind
The new role of advisor is a pivot away from a focus on helping students choose a major, plan for their career, and fit in with an institution’s culture, to “creating an advising and guidance ecosystem” which aids freshman from the beginning by identifying strengths, mitigating weakness, anticipating problems, “and envision(ing) the end result.“
In order to put students first the traditional role of advisor must be expanded to include mentoring and coaching. This raises the question of whether those who’ve long provided student guidance can fill this expanded role. Reid explores this question along with whether bringing in professionally trained advisors to supplement internal staff is necessary.
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