Study skills and time management are two things that often plague students who are new to the demands of college and UNCG’s Student Success Center offers a variety of services to between 1,400 and 1,500 undergraduates each year.
Through a trio of programs, the center’s goal is to make sure that the students – and many are first-generation college students – receive the assistance they need to perform academically. The center is part of campus efforts to boost student success and retention rates. UNC General Administration has mandated that all system institutions must raise retention percentages for undergraduates by 2013.
“Typically what we find is that many new students need their high school study skills and time management skills tuned up to college-level,” said John Foreman, the center’s director. “What we do on a one-to-one basis is help them refine those skills in order to get control of their studies.”
And several topics are available, including time management, listening and taking notes, reading and comprehending college textbooks, test taking and anxiety management.
Students come in during the first week of the semester to sign up voluntarily for one of the center’s three programs:
- Learning Assistance Center, which is open to all undergraduates, LAC signed up almost 900 students this year – and has waiting lists for services;
- Special Support Services, which is available only to 200 first-generation students from modest-income families and provides an array of support services that includes individual tutoring, academic skills instruction, writing instruction, counseling, graduate and professional school guidance and financial literacy counseling. It has been funded through the U.S. Department of Education since 1970.
- Supplemental Instruction Program, which provides three weekly discussion and review sessions outside of class times for high-risk courses, which are defined as classes having an enrollment of 100 or more with a D-F-W grade rate of 30 percent or higher over four or more semesters.
“I think our programs and the services we offer the students are having a positive effect on student persistence and graduation,” Foreman said. “I think we play a role in some students’ retention, even though there are other components available on campus which can help students. We’re part of a larger campus-wide effort and an attitude that UNCG will provide help to any students who want assistance.”
The stats from Institutional Research show that participants in SSC programs outperformed non-participants in persistence, GPA, good academic standing and graduation each year.
Foreman, seen in the visual discussing time management skills with a freshman, was himself a first-generation college student. He says he would’ve been a candidate for the program he runs. ”I’m working my values; I believe students should receive the help they need to stay in school and graduate,” Foreman said. “I tell my students that if I can graduate, they can do it, too.”
By Steve Gilliam
Photograph by Chris English