Impact of High-Touch Advising on Success Rates in Learning Cohorts

Renton Technical College (RTC) is a cohort-based technical college that has seen success in yielding high retention rates around 68% annually (IPEDS data). In an effort to further increase our retention rate, the advising model was redesigned and implemented in conjunction with a U.S. Department of Education Title III grant. The model is unique in that there is a significant emphasis on advisor and faculty engagement to yield high student success rates. Intentional and targeted interactions amongst the advisor, faculty and student throughout the term have created a culture where advisors are welcomed into all classrooms across campus. Within the first full year of implementation, fall to spring (first 45 credits) retention rates for degree seeking students increased 12.2% (part-time) and 6.0% (full-time) respectively. Average retention rates increased from 65.8% to 72.2% taking an institution with already high retention rates to a new level. After two years of implementation, the results have exceeded expectations; yielding significantly higher retention rates, grade point averages, average credits earned, and an increase in momentum points earned (as prescribed by the Washington State Student Achievement Initiative (SAI).

Prior to implementation of RTC’s new advising model, the Student Success Center scheduled approximately 1,400 advising appointments in fall for continuing students, with this number increasing to nearly 3,000 for fall in year two of implementation. As part of the new model, RTC implemented mandatory early alert advising appointments for students not meeting specified academic standards. The number of early alert appointments increased three-fold, resulting in fewer students failing to meet satisfactory academic progress standards. Further evidenced by our transcript data, degree-seeking students earn higher first-year GPA’s and a higher ratio of attempted credits following the implementation of our advising model.

ID 15363

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