KC: How We Are Helping Students

October 14, 2013

Kaskaskia College: How We Are Helping Students

Guest Article by: Susan Batchelor, Vice President of Student Services, Kaskaskia College

College can be daunting. Choosing the right classes, figuring out how to pay for them and identifying everything needed for class can leave anyone feeling a bit overwhelmed. This is where the faculty and staff at Kaskaskia College can help. From discussing career options with students who aren’t sure about what they want to do in the future, to walking a student to their first class when they have a new schedule, recognizing a student’s financial need for specialized supplies and meeting that need, alerting others within the college if a student isn’t attending classes, providing tutoring when information is new and difficult and continually making a student feel welcome and safe are real-life examples of how faculty and staff at Kaskaskia College assist students to succeed. The work we do is centered on serving students in any way that is needed so that they can complete their educational goals.

Students who are unsure of their career choice are offered the opportunity to work with our Career Services Coordinator who provides assistance with career exploration. Reviewing an online program entitled “Career Cruising” is an additional option for any student who has not yet identified a program of study. Once a program of study has been identified, the student meets with a professional advisor who provides assistance in establishing an educational plan for the student to follow. Targeted advising is available for students with disabilities or students who have completed their GED and want to use a GED scholarship which funds forty-eight credit hours of tuition. The educational plan is a “roadmap” that can be followed from the first semester through completion of a certificate or degree. From the beginning of this planning process, students will know what courses they will be taking in coming semesters.

Although KC’s tuition is affordable, many students need assistance to pay for college. The Financial Aid program at the college includes assisting students with application for grants, loans and scholarships. The staff of the Financial Aid Department understands that the rules and regulations governing a student’s financial aid eligibility are sometimes difficult to follow and are always available to assist students in the financial aid application process. The staff offers regular informational meetings throughout the year such as FAFSA Fridays, Financial Aid Check-Ups and College Goal Sunday to help students to address financial obligations of attending college. Once courses begin, the Student Success Center staff provides tutoring as needed. The tutoring is free of charge and is available for the majority of courses taught at KC. Tutoring is available through distance technology for students attending courses at our education centers. The Student Success Center staff assists with our Retention Alert program which allows faculty to send an email (alert) expressing concern that a student might need additional support for succeeding in their class. Phone calls are made and emails are sent to students encouraging them to seek assistance, following up with them if they have been missing class or offering support if there are life events that are affecting course work.

Students attending KC have opportunities to participate in many activities, clubs and organizations. A few examples include organized sports teams, attending college plays or concerts, intramural sports, special interest clubs and career specific organizations. All of these connect students to each other and the college, leading to what higher education leaders label “engagement”. Student engagement is linked to student success in college.

At KC, Student Success is everybody’s business.