As we welcome our new students, I often reflect upon my beginnings in higher education. As a student who was the first in her family to attend college, my entrance was challenged by some misconceptions and confusion. I read the information and checked the necessary boxes, but I didn’t have family who sent messages through the years about what being a college student meant and more importantly, how I would be a successful student. I know many of you have had that same experience.
Research has shown that first-generation college students are one of the most at-risk populations for retention. This category is significant even after accounting for family income, academic background, gender and ethnicity. Family and culture make up a good deal of our identity and these students have not seen a college degree as part of that picture.
Institutional Research has helped me to identify some of our most at-risk first-generation students in their first term of college. I am looking for faculty and staff to serve as a “MCC guide” (think back to Book Buddies) for these students. As a community we offered directions to thousands of students last week. These students could benefit from additional wayfinding.
WHAT IS AN MCC GUIDE?
A guide is not an advisor or counselor but does ensure that the students know we consider them part of our community and see them as integral to our mission. You can volunteer to connect with one or more students. The commitment would be at least three connections/communications (email, phone or in-person) during the Fall term. You’ll interact as much or little as makes sense and you’re comfortable with.
Guides will receive the student contact information and fall class schedule. I will also provide suggestions for talking points including an introduction. There is no expectation that you will be able to answer all questions a student may have, but that you will attempt to facilitate an answer. (Sometimes it is a comfort to know that you aren’t the only one that doesn’t know the answer.) As I hear about unique ways to connect I will share those ideas with the volunteers. I’ve already received a few great ideas-
· Send them an insider’s top ten tips.
· Invite the student to the Freeman Hrabowski presentation on October 17th.
· Remind them of registration dates for spring.
If you are interested in serving as a MCC Guide, please email me at HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com" by Friday, September 13th.