- Summer Leadership Academies
- Master's Program Information
- Doctoral Program Information
- HESA: Higher Education Student Association
- Program Faculty
- Semester Course Schedules
- Doctoral Cohort Schedules
- Course Descriptions
- Higher Education Professional Organizations
- Higher Education Career Opportunities
- Program Feedback
Educational Foundations and Leadership
Effective Advising Strategies for High-Risk First-Year Students at the University of Toledo
Research shows that the first year at college is the most critical year for students. More than half of all students who withdraw from college do so during their first year (Consortium for Student Retention Data Exchange, 2006), resulting in a first-year attrition rate of more than 33% at four-year institutions, and 44% at two-year institutions (ACT, 2011). Indeed, at all types of colleges and universities, including highly selective ones, the most critical period or stage of vulnerability for student attrition continues to be the first year of college (“Learning Slope,” 2004). Early departure from college is more likely for students with deficiencies in academic preparation, lower prior school performance, or an array of personal challenges – students whom research terms as “at-risk” students (Choy, 2002).
The Gateway Program at the University of Toledo is the front university advising unit that works with first-year undecided students. As of fall 2008, Gateway suspends first term freshmen after one semester if they earn less than a 1.0 GPA. The measure is undertaken to prevent students from accumulating further debt or low grades on their transcripts (as an example, about 154 freshmen, out of approximately 910, earned a "perfect" 0.0 GPA in the fall 2011 semester). The freshmen who were admitted with a high school GPA of 2.0 or better are allowed an automatic appeal process to return in the following semester. The ones who do not respond by writing an appeal letter are suspended and dropped from their classes (they may petition for reinstatement in the following semester). Those who submit an appeal have to take a Study Strategies class (AL 1150) and a Career and Self-Evaluation class (AL 1120), in addition to signing a Conditional Enrollment Contract. They are also required to attend a Sunday meeting on the day before school starts. The main reasons that students cite for their failure include: family issues, financial issues (lack of financial aid, failure to procure the needed books), and the transition from high school to college. Many of these students then start off well at the beginning of the term and cannot persist and complete the term.
The Case Study Task
As part of its commitment to help students transition to college life and succeed, the Gateway Programs Office is actively searching for effective advising approaches for high-risk first-year students. In light of this, the Office invites our class to identify and recommend useful and viable advising approaches for high-risk freshmen.