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Fostering College Success: Prepare, Support, Engage and Graduate

Posted March 10, 2016 in Content

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There’s no single path to success in college and beyond. Each individual must pursue personal goals, negotiate unique academic challenges, and make difficult professional decisions, all on his or her own unique timeline. To demonstrate a typical student’s pathway to earning an Associate degree, we’ve created a scenario with a fictitious student, Amy.

While well-liked by her teachers and coaches, Amy was a mediocre high school student. It took all of her focus just to maintain academic eligibility for the swim team; college seemed like someone else’s dream.

That all changed when her mom encountered some health problems and Amy came in contact with a variety of medical and health practitioners, technologists and aides — jobs she’d never heard of that were filled by confident professionals not much older than herself. As her mom started on the road to recovery, Amy made a major life decision: she committed herself to studying hard, saving up her lifeguarding money, and graduating high school. Armed with little more than a CPR certificate and a vague interest in healthcare, she applied to the local community college, figuring a two-year Associate degree gave her a better chance to finish on time and land a quality job.1

An admissions counselor welcomed her to college, but warned that her high school math skills probably weren’t good enough to pass a placement exam and recommended using PrepSTEP’s Placement Test Preparation to test out of a remedial course. He also made it clear that she didn’t have to do it alone: college is challenging, he said, but not impossible, noting that the school employed a small army of librarians, advisors and support staff, all of whom were there to help.

Amy next met with a career advisor who recommended Associates Programs SourcePlus and PrepSTEP’s Career and Workplace Center to help explore the rapidly growing allied health field.2 Remembering the speed and precision of the EMTs who responded to her mom, Amy was drawn to the paramedic program, attracted by its non-traditional work schedule and valuing of physical fitness, steely nerves and personal compassion. In a few short months, she had gone from a directionless teenager to a college student working towards an exciting and highly achievable career goal.

Soon after enrolling, she found herself challenged by math requirements yet again. An academic advisor suggested PrepSTEP’s Developmental Math to help her fill in gaps and stay on track to graduate. And for other subjects, an academic librarian helped her tackle one of her first writing assignments — a major research paper — with PrepSTEP’s Writing Practices and Core English Skills Review.

With a lot of hard work, and continual support from her community college’s faculty, staff and administrators, Amy graduated on time and walked into a good job with excellent prospects for advancement. In short: she thrived in college!

View an infographic of a typical student’s pathway to success.

1 The unemployment rate for Associate degree holders (4.5%) is below the national average (5.0%) and well below that of college dropouts (6.0%), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm

2 Healthcare jobs generally are set to grow by 19% over 10 years, with EMT/paramedic jobs growing 24%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/emts-and-paramedics.htm#tab-6

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