Nationwide, 70 percent of at-risk students that pursued a postsecondary education are unable to successfully complete their first year of college. The College Success Program is being pilot-tested in Iowa in collaboration with the Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) to offer the first CSP to graduates of the Iowa-JAG (iJAG) program. iJAG graduates from different schools and towns across the state of Iowa enrolled in the Des Moines Area Community College. The CSP is designed to help students successfully complete their first semester of college and to ensure graduation with a degree, certificate, diploma or transfer to another college. The CSP intervention includes but is not limited to:
- College assistance – a career coach will be with students throughout their college experience. The career coach (similar to the career specialist in an in-school program) will be the student’s college advocate and “go to” person when they have questions regarding registration, financial aid, career choices, or personal issues that may impact their college experience. The career coach will connect students with college, academic, career and personal resources to ensure that each student reaches his or her college graduation and career goals.
- Learning community – students will take courses with former JAG students. The JAG courses will provide participants with an orientation to college and resources, study strategies, pre-employment strategies, career planning, career seeking skills, etc. The learning community will support one another to help motivate and inspire each other to achieve their collegiate and career goals.
- Student organization – the purpose will be to provide a support group for students and to engage them in civic and social activities.
- Connections – the career coach will work with business partners to provide students with quality job and apprenticeship opportunities.
- Mentorship – students will be mentored by a professional in their chosen career field. Students are also expected to mentor a student in their former high school that wants to be part of the CSP in the following year.
- Job shadowing – students will provide job shadowing opportunities in their chosen career field.
- Curriculum connections – this will be a mix of career planning with opportunities such as career fairs, College Transfer fairs, internships, on-the-job training, apprenticeships, etc. The goal is to make certain that students are on track with their chosen field of study.
The Iowa pilot-test is at an early stage, however, the outcomes have exceeded expectations. The performance measures for the CSP include:
- Attain an 80 percent persistence rate from the fall to spring semesters. Persistence is defined as students taking classes in the fall then taking classes in the spring.
- Attain an 80 percent retention rate. Retention is defined as students who take classes in the fall semester of the next academic year.
- Attain an 80 percent completion rate of a credit, degree-seeking program.
- Attain an 80 percent positive outcome rate – employed full-time post graduation, transferred to a 4-year institution, or entered the armed forces.
- Attain a 90 percent job placement rate – employed full- or part-time or entering the military.
- Attain a 100 percent success rate in participating in CSP essential components.