Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What Harvard & Community College Students Have in Common

According to a recent article in The Atlantic, The Harvard "first-year experience unfolds under the supervision of an entire team - a freshman adviser, a resident dean of freshmen, a proctor, and a peer-advising fellow. Residential house tutors and faculty advisers lend support later."

The article goes onto compare that with community colleges, saying "community-college students are largely on their own. Student-adviser ratios in the two-year sector are abysmal in many schools: they can run as high as 1,500-to-1."

What stuck out to me when I read this?

Harvard students need just as much support as you do to be successful.

I see this lack of understanding and support affect low-income students all the time - they come up against an obstacle, feel alone, and assume that they must just not be college material. 

But, as I tell students in my speeches, no one does college successfully alone. 

Every student needs a solid support network. Colleges that are smart enough and/or have the funding know this and try to build it into the system.

But not every college understands how important this is, and some just don't have the funding. 

Which is why I do what I do. The system requires change to meet the needs of 21st century students - and while I hope to affect positive change at scale one day, my main goal is you right now.

You can't wait for the system to figure it out. And the good news is YOU have the power to create your own success network; that's why I wrote my book.  

So even if your college isn't surrounding you with advisors and mentors it's your job to surround yourself with them. They are everywhere. It's up to you to make the most of the opportunity to build that network. It can change your life and is necessary for college success.

Here are some places to start looking:

1) Your college's advising office
2) Your professors' office hours
3) Your college' student life office 
4) Your college's career center
5) Your college's tutoring center

Harvard students have a team and you should too. Build one and watch your potential grow. 

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