Every fall, colleges are brimming with students ready to embark on another academic year full of promise.
Unfortunately, some first-time college students do not make it past their first year because they have trouble adjusting to the academic rigor that comes with going to college.
This year, in partnership with the New Brunswick Education Foundation (NBEF), we hope to change that fact. Our aim is simple: to keep students engaged and on their path to completing their degree - - what we call “college persistence.”
So, what are we doing?
Building Capacity - NBEF has become our closest partner in this work, allowing us to build out a support system that includes mentors, coaches, and tutors for students as they graduate high school and enter into colleges, universities, and other post-secondary education. We believe that early outreach is critical to a student’s success - - to degree completion - - because research shows that students are more likely to abandon college within the first four semesters; this is especially true for first-generation students.Moreover, many students assume that they are the only ones experiencing academic challenges and/or might not even be aware that support services exist on their campuses. So, early intervention, with a robust support network, is critical to their success.
Empowering a Network - In an effort to help promote shared and connected learning among students, which can help decrease feelings of academic isolation, we’ve connected two powerful initiatives out of New Brunswick HighSchool, the AVID program and the Young Professionals Network.
NBT has supported the AVID program since its inception in the public schools and, this past year, we revamped what that support looks like to ensure that every avid senior can connect with peers and young professionals that preceded them. We did this by hosting a series of informational and educational workshops to help them as they navigate their college application and first year experience. Furthermore, we inaugurated 10 scholarships for AVID seniors; scholarships that embody NBT’s mission. This helped foster a sense of community around an academic achievement, and enrolled themas members of a young professional community, with access to peer-to-peer supports and various webinars for nurturing college persistence.
Preparing for academic success: At the heart of this work is a peers support system - - a model predicated on demonstrating how to navigate challenges and help one another believe they can do the same. Pairing struggling students with mentors who have similar interests and have overcome similar challenges has led to high persistence rates and strong academic performance.
This three-fold approach to “college persistence” tackles some of the biggest barriers for many students. As we continue to develop these programs supporting educational equity for students, we hope to have your support to expand these programs to include more students in need of an education system that works for them.