Student success results from intentional efforts on the part of collaborative and forward-thinking campus leadership. In order for students to succeed in college they need to be challenged and supported. Student success courses are excellent environments in which to introduce this concept to students. Further, these courses provide an academic setting in which to engage students in the academic expectations of college and to familiarize them with important support resources.
An important aim of student success courses is to facilitate learning about:
- Higher education
- The responsibility of the student to “own” their educational experience
- Awareness of oneself and one’s abilities
- Awareness of difference and diversity
In a National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition Survey of First-Year Seminar programming, over 65% of the respondents indicated that they offered an extended-orientation seminar and 20% indicated they offered the basic study skills seminar. Across all survey respondents, the three most frequently identified course objectives were:
- Develop academic skills
- Provide an orientation to campus resources and services
- Self-exploration/personal development
Respondents were also asked to indicate the five most important topics covered in the course. The most frequently reported topics were:
- Study skills
- Campus resources
- Time Management
- Academic planning/advising
- Critical thinking
As either a college transition or student success course, the content focused on introducing students to campus resources and skills they needed to succeed in college such as time management, academic and career planning, and important student development issues.
How effective are student success courses?
According to a National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition Survey of First-Year Seminar programming, respondents reported several outcomes, including:
- Increased persistence from freshman to sophomore year
- Improved student connections with peers
- Increased use of campus services
- Increased student satisfaction with the institution
- Increased out-of-class faculty/student interaction
- Increased levels of student participation in student activities
- Increased academic abilities
- Increased student satisfaction with faculty
- Improved grade point averages
- Increased persistence to graduation
Clearly, a campus seeking to improve the persistence and educational attainment of their students would find a student success course a cornerstone of their curriculum. A variety of models exist from online, face-to-face, prior to the start of classes, or as a part of a slate of semester courses. Publishing this month, Epigeum’s Student Success is a suite of 5 online courses helping to bolster student retention, performance, and eventual employability. Request your institution’s free trial today.
Joni Webb Petschauer, Senior Fellow for the American Council on Education’s American College Application Campaign and Lead Advisor on Student Success