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The Next Big Things for Student Success: Pathways

By AACC Staff

Here are three model programs that can help steer students toward their goals.

This weekend is our 95th Annual Convention, in San Antonio, Texas, and we couldn’t be more excited! We will be talking with more than 2,000 fellow community college leaders about the next big things we can do to advance student success on our campuses.

As we gear up for these important conversations, top of mind are seamless student pathways. Our job as educators and administrators is to provide students with the resources they need to reach each of the milestones on their educational pathways and confidently move on to the next one — whether from K–12 to college or from the first day of college to graduation or from graduation to the workforce.

Many of our member colleges across the country are already making great strides in supporting students to and through college and onto their chosen careers. Here are three great programs that we can all look to as models of how we can provide students with seamless pathways to success:

College readiness

Through its College Connections program, Austin Community College (ACC), in Texas, connects with local high school seniors to help make their transition to college as smooth as possible. The program provides assistance with college applications, financial-aid applications, college advising and free placement testing. Once they complete the program, participating students are guaranteed lifetime acceptance into ACC.

College completion

In North Carolina, the State Board of Community Colleges publicly committed to explicit goals for college completion. They established SuccessNC with the aim of increasing to 59 percent (compared with 45 percent in 2004) the percentage of students who complete credentials or transfer. This work was done in collaboration with key state- and national-level partners, including North Carolina’s Association of Community College Presidents and the state’s Association of Community College Trustees.

Workforce development

Through its WorkReadyNH program, White Mountains Community College, in New Hampshire, has made significant strides toward improving workforce development in the region. For example, the program provides a way to assess, document and improve students’ skill levels in key areas of math and reading. The soft-skills class provides workplace-readiness training in communication, conflict resolution, employer expectations, interviews, ethics and problem-solving.

We understand that improving student success in college begins long before students arrive on our campuses. We also recognize that students’ goals and dreams for themselves extend far beyond college and include first jobs as well as long-term careers. As community college leaders, we have a key role to play in supporting students on their pathways from secondary education to and through college and onto their next steps in school and in life.

Join us this weekend, April 18–21, at the Annual Convention in San Antonio to talk more about the next big things we can all do to set students on a path to success.

How is your college providing support for students before, in and after college? Tell us in the Comments.

AACC Staff

contributed to this report.

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