TCC Starts Effort To Help Students Finish College
TULSA, Oklahoma - Tulsa Community College is part of a new effort to make sure students who enter college, finish college.
There's been some research that shows a lot of people who enter community college flounder - and never finish - because they just get lost in the process. To try to turn that around, TCC is streamlining some majors - and increasing one-on-one attention.
Part of the attraction of a community college is that it's easy to get in - and there are plenty of programs. TCC has 6,000 full time students, divided between 220 programs. School counselors find that for a beginning college student - that can be overwhelming.
Susanne Pickering, TCC Academic Counselor, said, "I think they don't know what their options are and I they sometimes seem a little lost in figuring out what their options are. There are so many options out there, so many choices of programs."
Many of TCC's students are fresh out of high school - and some are retraining for a change in career. The nature of the community college also means that some are there intending to be part time and never graduate. That's how TCC can have 27 thousand students take at least one course in a year, but also have only 2,500 finish a degree.
There's a new effort to track students and make sure those who want to graduate have all the tools they need.
"It gives the student an opportunity to know a lot more about where they're headed from the beginning. And we need to provide that success, not just to get them to college, but through college," said Leigh Goodson, TCC President.
The effort has backing from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which will pay for training for TCC staff. The grant came through some of the success of Tulsa Achieves, which starts with more counseling for students - and ends up with more graduates.
Pickering said, "It's definitely a benefit to be seen each semester. Even though the student may have the pathway set before them of what they need to do, it's good to get confirmation and address any issues along the way. it's very important in ensuring their success."
Students will be required to visit with counselors, and all those choices of majors will be lumped into smaller categories at the start, to simplify some of the decision making.
The training starts right away - the changes start next fall.