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Colleges and universities have a variety of advising and counseling systems designed to help students stay in school through graduation but, given national college completion trends, the traditional approach is not always effective.

Students often struggle because they lack key information on how to be successful and because they feel isolated in the campus environment.

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, a mere 38.6% of students successfully completed bachelor’s degrees within four years, and only 58.3% completed bachelor’s degrees within six years.

The upshot is that six years after enrolling, despite intensive retention efforts on the part of colleges, 41.7% of all students—and 49.9% of Hispanic and 60.5% of African American students--fail to complete a bachelor’s degree. Undoubtedly, some of these students will persevere and eventually graduate, but many more will simply drop out, leaving college with crushing debt, no degree, and limited employment prospects.

There is clearly a gap between the student and the university that traditional advising services have not been able to close – and with admissions offices struggling and budgets already stretched to the breaking point, effectively increasing graduation rates seems like an impossible task.

Perhaps it is time for universities to consider a new approach to increasing student retention and graduation rates.

With the guidance of a coach, students have a partner on their collegiate journey. Education Success Services coaches will provide the necessary tools to close the gap between student and university to foster a sense of belonging and encourage success.

Frequently asked questions

  1. What is the value of a college education?

    College Educated People Make More Money: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics  reports that 2013 median weekly earnings for people with only a high school diploma was $651 per week. For people with a bachelor’s degree, 2013 median weekly earnings were $1,108 per week—nearly double! The value of a college degree is, on average, an additional $457 a week in median income. Read more here.

  2. Aren’t there successful people who don’t have degrees?

    Many of us know a few unemployed people who have degrees but, honestly, don’t we know many more unemployed people who don’t have degrees?  And, while we’ve all heard about those rare individuals who achieved success without a degree, but isn’t the fact that they are rare exceptions the reason we remember them?   According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2013 the overall unemployment rate for people 25 and older was 6.1%.  When we break that down by education, we see that the rate was 4.0% for people with a 4-year college degree and 7.5%--almost double—for people with only a high school diploma.  And, it gets even better for people with advanced degrees.  In 2013, unemployment rates for people with master’s, professional, and doctoral degrees were 3.4%, 2.3% and 2.2% respectively. People who do not have college degrees are more likely to be poor and/or unemployed than people who have degrees, while people who have degrees are more likely to be employed and have higher incomes.

  3. What is the value of co-curricular activities?

    Education doesn’t take place only in the classroom.  Co-curricular activities broaden students’ experience, complement classroom academics, and help prepare them for a better future in terms of fostering a well-rounded social life, networking, and resume building that make them more attractive to future employers.  Co-curricular activities include membership in clubs, teams, and organizations, participation and holding office in student governance groups, committee membership, leadership activities, community service, etc.  While engagement in co-curricular activity is important for all students, it is especially important for those who are most likely to drop out.  In an article entitled “First Generation College Students: Co-curricular Involvement Can Assist with Success”, researcher Barbara Garcia points out that co-curricular activity can be a factor in persisting to graduation. Participation in co-curricular activities increases the likelihood of degree completion.