Help Students Get On a Path
- First-year experiences to help students explore the field and choose a major
PRACTITIONER, PRESIDENT, AND PARTNER PERSPECTIVES
Dale Hayes, Director of Advising Services, Indian River State College, Pathways College (posted 4/5/2018)
From the point of even checking in at our welcome desk, if there is even a hint that the student isn’t quite sure why they’re here, we refer them immediately to career and transfer services. When they sit down with an advisor, if they indicate some doubt about the chosen program that they noted on their application, the advisor refers them to career and transfer services. We can’t build a pathway without a commitment from them for what program they want to pursue here. So if they’re kind of hemming and hawing between or among several things, we immediately send them for career exploration so they can do some inventories, get some results, sit down and do some career advising with the folks in CTS. And then when they come back to the advisor, they’re better prepared so we can have that conversation about what they need. That has become almost a default thing now for all advisors. If you don’t know, then we need you to do career exploration.
Eileen Storck, Assistant Dean, Enrollment and Student Services, Indian River State College, Pathways College; Flossie Jackson, Director, Career and Transfer Services, Indian River State College, Pathways College (posted 4/5/2018)
(1) One of the biggest things that we did when we adopted guided pathways, we looked at how we were processing students on the front end, and we looked at new student orientation very closely. And what we decided to do was revamp our entire new student orientation process and the program. It was, prior to that, like an information session kind of a format, and we’ve turned it into an event that is offered at all five of our campuses on a regular bases.
It’s very engaging, it’s hands on. We have all of the area experts from advising, financial aid, minority affairs, the security office. They come and talk to the students and tell them how they can find them, where they can get more information. We make it very real for the students so that it’s very clear that they know every single area of the institution is there to ensure their success, that nothing is off limits. It’s not just about going to class and being successful. We recognize through new student orientation that they have a life, and we have all of these supports to help them overcome any of those barriers. We drive that home really, really strongly through new student orientation.
(2) One thing that we’ve incorporated is asking the students, why are they here? We want them to really start thinking about their purpose beyond the degree, but also for employment. And we talk about taking a look at a living wage, a sustainable wage that you’re comfortable with. What type of lifestyle do you want to have once you’ve graduated from either an AS program or a baccalaureate program? How much does it cost for a mortgage, your electric bill, your water bill, whatever that is? Shopping, day care, you know, all of these things that we have students to take a look at from the first time they walk on this campus and encounter new student orientation. So we’re really focused on the student as a holistic person when they come to new-student orientation.
Kate Thirolf, Vice President for Instruction, Jackson College, Pathways College (posted 4/5/2018)
We know that students typically in the 18, 19 range, but we also have students who might be older who still aren’t sure exactly what they want. But that’s a very relevant and important question to ask and to get answers. We have what we call Seminar 140. It’s our first-year experience for students to take their first semester that is all framed around on course principles, which helps them to think about accountability as a college student, as somebody who is pursuing a career, but it’s embedded also all around by pathway, what the career options would be.
So that is a great first way, first-semester experience for students to be able to get a better feeling of what the career options are by pathway. So, you might say, for example, a student might say, “My uncle is a nurse, maybe I want to go into nursing,” and so through conversations with their navigator would be going into the health sciences pathway, and then they recognize, “Oh, this whole area of allied health with respiratory therapy and medical assisting. That just sounds really interesting, too, and I didn’t quite realize just how broad the field could be.” That’s just one way where you may not know exactly what you want, and the way that we’ve designed pathways here at Jackson College is that you are exposed early of all the options in that pathway and then you can be on the right track right from the start.
In the freshman seminar class we had, a couple of times throughout the semester we had navigators and other staff come in and speak to the class about resources that are available on the college website and other things that can help you track and plan your future progress and stuff.
I’m assigned a specific advisor, an’ a lotta people in my program all have that same advisor, but I just wanna add on to what you’re calling the college success programs. So this school, at least in my program, there’s four of ’em that are required. We have the College 101, which is you learn about college study skills, all that fun stuff, and then there’s Career Planning, which is, is this really the career path you wanna go down? You take those aptitude tests in that class, kind of build offa that, start working on your resume a little bit, your LinkedIn profile. Career Preparation is when you really get down. You build your resume. You build your cover letter. You start learning how to interview for jobs, and then the fourth one is — there’s not a ton o’ class time for it. It’s Career Experience. So in my program, you’re required to have an internship in your job field before you can graduate. You can use prior employment as that, if it meets it, but a lotta people don’t. The college works really well. They have a ton of employers in the area that are — the college works with those employers, and they’re like, yeah, here. We have some openings for an internship for you at this location. Do you want it? That’s really nice that way.