The world of higher education is abuzz with strategies and theories about how to improve student retention. Over the next few years, all funding for public colleges and universities in Ohio will shift to be completely based on student retention. Thus, colleges are all seeking ways to keep learners engaged for the long haul. It is not an easy task for the adult learner, as college learning and life often conflict. College work demands a high level of involvement and continuous study, while personal needs demand time for work, childcare, and leisure. The balancing act is often overwhelming and leads to a low persistence rate of students. Sadly, the perception is that both the college and the individual have failed and there is no path forward for the student to re-engage in learning.
In our College Bridge program we have been studying this issue for a long time. Unfortunately, we see a widening gap between the desire/will to go to college and the pathway through college. Our conclusion is simple: learning is the responsibility of our entire community. We believe that if we offer a community setting for students to engage in learning then we can make college persistence possible. The student cannot do it alone, the college cannot do it alone; but if we bridge the two, we see success. Our approach is to make college more personal and to help students find a balance between the demands of college and life. When you show faith in a student, offer support, and teach how to engage in higher education, you can create a path to college persistence.
Our entire community is stronger when we have real opportunities for people to learn and reach their potential. Let’s make it possible!