Attending college and being successful is like a lot of other things in life. When you first start out, it seems like it is the hardest thing you have ever done. To some it is as foreign as speaking a foreign language. Some students are the first in their families to attempt to get a college degree; others are older and have been out of school for a while. There are some who are really nontraditional students in every sense. They are the students who did not obtain a high school diploma, but have decided they will try to obtain a community college degree and/or certification.
Colleges traditionally have preview days where the student can visit the school and have fun with a little information thrown in. There is also freshman orientation. Even with these events many of the first time freshmen last less than one year in college.
Achieving the Dream is a national program that seeks to make student success a priority with junior/community colleges. Achieving the Dream is in 24 states and the District of Columbia with its site set on being in all 50 states. They currently serve more than 1.6 million students.
Achieving the Dream has on campus coaching that involves everyone on campus, the faculty, the staff and the administrative leadership. This program collects student data, analyzes it, and uses it to assist students with their attempts to be successful.
The main goal of Achieving the Dream is to assist more students to reach their goal of college certification, associate degree or a bachelor’s degree thereby finding a better job.
Achieving the Dream has initiated a five-step process for increasing student success. The first step is to commit to improving student outcomes. This means that the college leadership has to make a committed commitment to improving their student body outcome.
The second step is to gather relevant data, use it in prioritizing the schools actions to assist students. This will help assist in identifying the barriers to student achievement.
Step three is to engage all of the people involved in the plan to assist in the planning. Achieving the Dream believes that everyone involved should have a voice in the process; thereby they have a “say” in achieving their dream.
Combining implementation, evaluation and improving strategies is the fourth step. As the school continues to try to assist students, they will find new ways to improve some strategies while replacing others.
The last step is to establish a culture that is always improving. Achieving the Dream believes that colleges should repeat the first steps in the process and seek to identify new problem areas and develop approaches to solving these problems.
Achieving the Dream seeks to make certain that students reach their potential in college. Achieving the Dream has the mission of making students successful.