Alison Damast had a very good article in a recent issue of Bloomberg Businessweek entitled, At College, Coaching Isnt Just for Athletes Anymore (4/23/124/29/12, pp. 4950). In the article, Damast reviews the growing trend within colleges to provide their students with executive-style coaching, usually through an outside contracted organization.
It sounds simple, but it is profoundly effective. Get students, especially freshman, connected with coaches who take an active role in setting them up for success. These coaches are not of a laissez-faire mindset. Instead, they take an active, even aggressive, role in the students academic life. By so doing, that student is confronted with a wealth of ideas, strategies, tips, and resources that all work toward success.
Dropout rates have always been a serious concern. Damast cites the recent statistic that, only 58 percent of full-time freshmen enrolled at four-year institutions in 2004 managed to graduate by 2010 (p. 49). Given the significant investment by key stakeholders, anything that can be done to counter dropout rates is highly desirable.
Although the price tag is high, colleges are increasingly willing to pay it because of the cost/benefit analysis. Colleges are enjoying positive results via the coaches. This translates to dollars. Even a one-percentage point improvement in student retention can equate to millions of dollars of added revenue for the college.
This is a win-win situation. College is challenging enough for any student. Therefore, anything that can be done to create a positive force in a students life ultimately benefits everyone.
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