Building Confidence and Student Retention Rates Among Non-Traditional Students


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Libraries are uniquely poised to cooperate with other student support units to a central support entity to give non-traditional students the assistance they need to stay enrolled and on their way to a timely graduation. Presented at GaCOMO12 by Julie Poole.

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  • What are the things we can control?
  • What factors can be controlled? These are the things we can help change
  • Confidence in one’s powers and abilities
  • Students wants to do things on their own – they don’t want to ask for help
  • S/he saw something in me that I didn’t see. Every conversation you have with every student might be that conversation. It doesn’t matter that we don’t necessarily teach “for credit” courses, etc.To encourage means to give hope or promiseGet to know other support units, get to know what they are doing and where there are gaps
  • Central support entityUniquely posed between academic unit and support services unit
  • Building Confidence and Student Retention Rates Among Non-Traditional Students

    1. 1. CC Attribution – Non Commercial
    2. 2. “It is impossible to overestimatethe fear and lack of self-confidence of students, especially that of non-traditional students.” Sinfield & Burns, 2008, p. 46
    3. 3. The Problem: Attrition Why do students leave?  Academic challenges  Outside demands  Lack of support (from the school but also from family and friends)  Negative experiences early in their college experience or in their experience at a particular school  Financial problems  Illness/Injury
    4. 4. How to Combat Attrition?
    5. 5. What keeps students enrolled? Determination Commitment to chosen profession/major Formal and informal support Integration (with the school, their courses, their peer group, etc.)
    6. 6. Students Need Self-ConfidenceSelf-confidence is the confidence in one’s powers and abilities
    7. 7. How to Foster Self- Confidence? As an institution  “HE (higher education) institutions can exacerbate student lack of self-esteem in the way that they implicitly view and explicitly treat their students” (Sinfield & Burns, 2008, p. 47).  Bridging the gap between student and college/university
    8. 8. How to Foster Self- Confidence (continued) As Library/Support Services  A welcoming, friendly environment (THE IMPACT OF A SMILE AND FRIENDLY FACE IS HUGE)  Build students up  Teach self-efficacy and self-reliance  Partner with other academic and support units  Performance improvement bolsters self-confidence
    9. 9. Students Need Encouragement“This one professor changed my life.”
    10. 10. How Do We Encourage? Every conversation/interaction with a student Acknowledge fears and frustrations and let students know that they are learned behaviors that can also be unlearned Make the environment safe – mistakes are part of the learning process We all make mistakes too – show them, use them in your teaching
    11. 11. Students Need Support Academic support & personal support  These are not mutually exclusive Types of support:  Libraries – instruction, reference, atmosphere  Academic tutoring  Career & personal counseling  Academic advising  Support for military personnel/veterans/military families  Financial advise and support  Disability services  Student integration (activities, clubs, peer groups)
    12. 12. Students Need Support and Libraries Can Help Libraries are uniquely positioned to be leaders in student support  We have “good” spaces  Sometimes our spaces already include other support services  Our online spaces are usually fairly robust  We straddle the line between academic and support unit and can more easily collaborate with faculty and support staff
    13. 13. Conclusion Student retention and success is our problem – we need to own it We can be student allies We can be support service partners We can also partner with teaching faculty We can work to change our institutions into welcoming, friendly places We can show research that proves what works and what does not