This week my friends at Maguire Associates invited me to use their platform to discuss solutions for at-risk students, specifically students of color. It has been my life's work to improve retention for the AHANA population (African-American, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American), and this story may prove helpful to your institution.
At Boston College where we took retention for Black and Latino students from 17% to 95%, we adopted an aggressive, multi-faceted retention strategy that boiled down to three broad directives: Enable Access, Create Opportunity, Provide Support.
A key piece of both the Enable Access and Provide Support directives was a comprehensive six-week summer "bridge" program called the Options Through Education Transitional Summer Program (OTE).
OTE is specifically tailored to the needs of students identified as having high levels of motivation and potential, but inadequate preparation for the rigors of college academic and social life. We resolved to support these students by offering a series of courses, note-taking, time management, and study skills during the summer months and during the academic year.
The program has proven to be a tremendous success. OTE will soon be celebrating its 40th anniversary, having helped launch the academic and professional careers of hundreds of students in virtually every walk of life.