By Katy Kappler, Co-Founder and CEO, InScribe, and Dr. Jonathan Huck, Research Scientist, WGU Labs
The decision to apply to college, even for older students, can be a lonely, high-stakes journey. Price tags are often shrouded in mystery. Outcomes for graduates can be vague. And confusing terms (registrar, bursar, oh my!) appear at every turn.
These challenges, however, are often mitigated at traditional universities, where students can find answers and build a sense of connection with an institution by walking its grounds, smelling its flowers, and taking lively tours. Unfortunately, these advantages are absent in the online learning space.
How, then, to foster a sense of belonging among applicants who may never set foot on a physical campus? We met this challenge through a recent pilot at Western Governors University (WGU), where we created a virtual community for prospective students to connect with peers, staff, and alumni before deciding to enroll.
Students don’t graduate for many reasons, but one critical reason, within an institution’s power to change, is that students don’t see a connection between their studies and a possible career. Way too often higher education relegates career preparation to select majors, separate classes, and special offices on campus. But breaking down these barriers helps all students succeed.
Reach Higher hosted the fifth annual Beating the Odds Summit Tuesday to support first-generation college-bound students.
“No matter how much you may front, there is a part of you that is wondering whether this was a mistake and whether I belong and whether I can do this. Can I go on this campus or start this program? Am I really worthy of it? Those were the messages I had going on in my head and they still come up in life,” former First Lady Michelle said.
“…But here’s my one big message. This is not a mistake. You are here because you are more than capable of doing it.”
Former First Lady Michelle Obama celebrated student success at Reach Higher’s fifth annual College Signing Day event Wednesday.
“I want you all to know, personally, you are about to make the best investment that you can possibly make. And that’s true whether you are going to a trade school or to the military or to a community college or to a four-year university,” Obama said to loud cheers.
As a college advisor at City-As-School High School, one of the largest and oldest schools designed to re-engage students who choose to transfer high schools, this month’s college admission scandal came as no surprise.
It’s not breaking news to me that the college admission process tends to favor those already privileged in society. I watch it play out every day, as my colleagues and I fight to get our students into college — and to convince our students that they deserve that opportunity.