This is part two of a two-part post on preparing for today’s diverse college populations, to increase their college completion rates. See part one.
A few weeks ago my colleague, Dr. Mari Normyle, posted a blog with a question: Will your institution be ‘student-ready’ for diverse college populations on Day One? My response is YES, you can be!
To be ready, first look carefully at the needs of the diverse populations within the entering class. When you understand the needs of our entering students by race/ethnicity, first-generation vs. students with college-educated parents, gender, age, or any other diverse category, you can begin to make decisions how to strategically use the data to impact outcomes.
One way to gain a solid understanding of entering students’ diverse needs is to gather motivation data by population. For example, the first part of this post provided 13 facts in four diverse categories about 2016 entering freshman which were collected from 99,300 students who completed RNL’s College Student Inventory. All 13 facts are what we call leading indicators, or early alerts, which can help to determine what entering students need to persist, progress, retain, and complete. Most of you know we at RNL are all about being data-informed and spend most of our time working with you to move data into action.
Benchmarking: another important first step for serving diverse college populations
Before you set strategy, it is also helpful to understand normal outcomes for your institution type. In the 2017 Student Retention Indicators Benchmark Report you will find benchmarks for persistence, progression, and retention for four-year and two-year institutions. For example, you will find persistence outcomes from term one to term two and term two to term three for first-time-in-college students regardless of race/ethnicity, first-generation vs. students with college-educated parents, gender, age or other attributes.