Why We Study Student Supports
Across the United States, community college graduation rates are too low. Intensive advising and supports—including reaching out to students when they are struggling—are key elements of programs that have been shown to be effective at helping students stay on track. The thoughtful design of advising and student support programs is especially important for addressing educational inequity. In many cases, however, advisors have large caseloads that limit the amount of time they can spend with students, making it challenging to offer students more than basic, drop-in advising. Moreover, advising systems often function separately from other student service departments and offices, including career counseling, and students may not have the support they need to address financial challenges, child care struggles, and other issues.
CCRC research suggests that the best advising is sustained across a student’s college career and allows advisors to develop a relationship with the student. Under this model, which can be enhanced by the use of technology, advisors are assigned individual students and regularly interact with those students to help them formulate short- and long-term education plans, identify and address their needs, and intervene when they struggle. Academic advising also works best when integrated with other nonacademic services and when faculty and staff are involved in student support initiatives, providing students with a cohesive support experience that meets their varied needs.
Caring Campus Initiative
CCRC is evaluating the Caring Campus Initiative, a project to create a positive, supportive campus culture and to increase students’ sense of connectedness.
How One College Used Technology to Boost Advising
With iPass, I learned…not just to chase after an early alert and saying, "Okay you're missing class, go to class." [Instead] talk about "why are you missing class? What is going on in your life?"
Director of Academic Advising Systems, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Principles of the SSIPP Advising Framework
CCRC research suggests that effective advising is based on a SSIPP framework.
- Sustained support of students throughout their tenure at college
- Strategic deployment of advising resources based on need
- Integrated with other student supports
- Proactive outreach to vulnerable students
- Personalized advising attuned to students’ needs and interests
Sample Guiding Questions in an Advising Toolbox
Colleges that participated in the iPASS project created resources that can be used by advisors to implement effective practices. These include questions that advisors can use in their conversations with students:
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Our Advising & Student Supports Experts
View all of our publications on advising and student supports.