College Success Arizona has spent nearly a decade creating a structured and specific set of services that support students from the time they enroll into a post-secondary institution until the day they graduate. These services have been refined and updated over time, based on findings from our interactions with students, financial aid, admissions offices, and from our own student surveys.
OUR PROVEN APPROACH
College Success Arizona has a track record of proven success in helping students achieve their dream of college completion. Here are our specific services that, together, comprise our recipe for ensuring college success.
Our New Student Orientation provides a shared experience for new students and also serves as a ceremonial induction into that year’s cohort. The orientation shares information that structures both the relationship with Success Advisers and with college itself. It outlines measures of success and key milestones along the way that set the notion for the high expectations and mutually accountable relationship between scholars and Success Advisers. Highlights of the orientation include a variety of workshops with topics to ensure they are well-rounded students and that they obtain resources and materials for their educational journey.
Our Success Advisers are the key to the success of our program and to our student’s success. Students interact with a Success Adviser at their school during their time in school. Each of the Success Advisers develop a relationship with the students to know their stories and goals. They are also focused on making recommendations and helping to identify resources that will ensure the student’s college success.
Personal interactions are the centerpiece of College Success Arizona’s Advisory Services. Success Advisers schedule regular appointments each semester with students in their own environment, typically on campus, to build rapport, provide coaching and mentoring advice, to make referrals, and identify individual and collective student needs.
We consider the mutually accountable relationships between our Success Advisers and students as the “secret sauce” to our successful mentoring program. Consistent, as-needed communications whether by phone, text, video or other electronic means that supplement our face-to-face interactions are available to all students. This way students understand that they have direct access to someone who can support and help. From having an immediate question about a class schedule, financial aid or general life questions, students can reach out and get assistance. Through ongoing communications, our Success Advisers also send out regular alerts—to remind students of important dates and to ensure College Success Arizona tracks all student data, grades and courses.
Financial aid is one of the biggest challenges our students face, and filling out the FAFSA can be confusing and challenging. Our Success Advisers have a high level of experience in financial aid issues of all kinds, and offer both high-level advice on meeting students’ financial needs (including advice on Pell grants and student loans, for example) as well as specific tactical assistance on filling out financial aid forms and applying for scholarships. Beyond that, our Success Advisers help connect students with resources on and off campus that can help smooth the way for them financially. And, when needed, we will go to bat for students to help them get answers to financial aid issues.
College Success Arizona does not offer specific academic tutoring, but we help connect students to the resources on campus where they can find it. In addition, we support students in making enrollment decisions to ensure that they are on track in the current semester and are moving toward the next semester. Our advisory services start the summer before our students’ freshman year and continues each semester. Academic achievement is a main component for students to continue receiving aid from different funding sources and stay on track for graduation. Success Advisers work diligently with each student to ensure they are staying at a minimum scale GPA and work on a growth plan with any students who might be falling below this scale. Our Success Advisers are here to help students get through each semester successfully and keep moving toward matriculation. Each semester, we look at each scholar’s progress and talk with them about whether they have passed each of the classes they need to meet their goals and the requirements of their major. This regular tracking also enables College Success Arizona to report to individual funders on the progress of the scholars they support, sharing grades and other data on how their scholars are progressing.
If students change their post-secondary institution at any time during their college career, we help them navigate the application and transfer process. Particularly when scholars come from a community college, our Success Advisers have become adept at making sure they get and stay on track in the university setting. One way we do this is to offer a second opinion on schedules and classes and how these line up to what’s needed to navigate successfully in a chosen major. In this way, our Success Advisers become experts in transfer analysis, helping to make sure that students stay on track academically and don’t stay in school longer than they need to.
Peer mentoring offers an opportunity for students in the program to meet each other and share professional and leadership development experiences. Our Scholar Success Network events occur two times per semester on each Arizona university campus and deliberately creates an atmosphere for scholars to engage in a safe space where resources are presented, activities are made, and an overall sense of belonging is fostered.
This professionally designed and managed symposium is one of our signature events for students. Scheduled between semesters during the winter break, the event routinely draws at least 250 students together for a day of team building, networking and tactical workshop sessions aligned to the student’s current needs. Like employees attending a professional development conference, students tailor their schedules for the day to attend workshop sessions of their interest, such as those on career and financial advice, job marketing, and interpreting transcripts in relation to career goals. In addition, the symposium features a series of powerful motivational speakers who focus on issues of leadership and performance. The symposium is also a networking opportunity where scholars interact throughout the day with other students who are part of College Success Arizona and thus have similar backgrounds and experiences.
Guidance and goal setting through the implementation of the College Success Arizona Career, Academic, and Life Milestones plan – when scholars are not performing up to their potential, for whatever reasons, Success Advisers provide individual academic growth plans that guide each student through a path to get back on track. This sometimes includes remediation. These Academic Growth Plans are one way our Success Advisers go the extra mile for students who are struggling academically, helping them to get them back on track and outlining additional expectations for staying there.
I can remember opening the letter. When I found out I had received a four-year scholarship from College Success Arizona, it was a relief. The scariest thing was how I was going to pay for college. Someone believed in me and thought I had potential. They wanted me to go to school. I felt very fortunate. I felt very blessed.