Engaged students are successful students. But at many colleges, internship programs, tutoring services, academic planning and freshman support fail to get used by students. A new report by the Center for Community College Student Engagement (CCCSE) at the University of Texas at Austin says higher education institutions need to step up their game and show students a clear pathway to using their support services. Doing so would make a major difference in making sure students graduate and have the requisite experience to tackle the challenges of finding a job in the current workforce.
Here’s a look at the numbers on several key criteria of student engagement. They are not pretty but they do show the path forward for fixing the problems of student engagement.
- Just 15 percent of students take up an internship, field experience or clinical assignment. For vocational/technical students, two-thirds of colleges require it. For non-technical students only 27 percent of colleges require it.
- Less than 1 in 2 students create an academic plan in their first term. 66 percent of colleges offer this service.
- While 80 percent of colleges have an early-alert system for students struggling academically, less than 1 in 3 students say they got help or were contacted.
- Only 60 percent of students take part of student orientation, even though 97 percent of colleges offer an orientation service.
- Less than 1 in 3 developmental students take part in accelerated courses. Nearly 70 percent of colleges offer such programs.
- Less than 1 in 3 students take part in a freshman seminar. 60 percent of colleges make this available.
- Less than 1 in 3 students take a student success course. 84 percent of colleges offer this.
- Just 1 in 10 students participate in organized learning communities even though more than half of all colleges offer them. A learning community is two or more courses that a cohort of students take together.
- Every college offers tutoring. Only 27 percent of students use it.
- Less than a third of students offer extra class sessions—called supplemental instruction—even though 61 percent of colleges offer them.
- Only 37 percent of students study for placement tests even though 57 percent are aware of impending placement tests.
- 75 percent of students say that all of their instructors clearly explained the class attendance policy.