Course required for all new-to-college students (those with less than 12 transfer credits upon entry); provides instruction and support for college study skills, college practices and procedures, and academic planning from first term to program or goal completion.
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Durham Technical Community College
For three years in a row, retention rates among students at Durham Technical Community College (Durham Tech) who took a College Success course were at least 30% higher than students who did not take the course.
After testing several ways to improve students' "front-door experiences" Durham Tech attributes its most promising results to the synergistic combination of orientation, Early Alert, and a college success course.
In 2010 the college:
- Scaled ConnectSession as a mandatory, face-to-face orientation program for all new students
- Made the college success course (ACA 122) a first-term requirement for entering students who have completed fewer than 12 hours of college-level credits
- Expanded Early Alert interventions (previously available only to students in developmental education courses) to students enrolled in the college success course (ACA 122)
Durham Tech serves the "City of Medicine," as Durham is known, and the Orange County section of the Research Triangle. In addition to research hospitals and universities, the region is home to numerous biotechnology companies and other high technology industries.
In Fall 2010, 43% of Durham Tech's 5,642 students received Pell grants. That semester, 44% of Durham Tech's students were black, 6% were Hispanic, 4% were Asian, and 58% were older than 25.
Even as Durham Tech focuses on transforming students' initial college experiences, it uses data to inform other services. Its C-STEP partnership, for instance, helps low-income students transfer to the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
During 2011, Durham Tech will continue its Achieving the Dream work by moving forward with:
- Redesigning Developmental Mathematics for modular delivery
- Instituting Mandatory Placement Test Preparation
- Developing additional Financial Support Services for low-income students and students who tend to face the biggest barriers to success
- Implementing a Placement Test Online Preparation program with Guilford Technical Community College
Student Success Strategies
Durham Technical Community College is using the following strategies to impact student success:
Early Alert and Academic Alert are specific interventions provided to the most at-risk students enrolled in ACA or developmental mathematics, reading, or writing courses.
ConnectSessions, Durham Tech’s required student orientation program, provides specific assistance with orientation to program choices, plans of study, financial aid, time management, online systems for registration, and other critical information needed prior to enrollment.
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