Supporting first-generation college students
In Monday’s “‘First Class’ Students: The Hidden Population at Four-Year Institutions,” presenters Shawna Lockwood and Ann LaFave of Cornell University discussed recent efforts to support a growing number of first-generation college students at their institution.
Cornell, which is comprised of 7 undergraduate colleges, defines first-generation students as “college students who do not have at least one parent who earned a bachelor’s or higher degree.”
In the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell, 11 to 15 percent of first-year freshmen are first-generation students, LaFave said. Across the university, 11 percent of freshmen students admitted for fall 2013 are first-generation college students.
“There’s really a movement on our campus to start thinking about these students,” LaFave said. “Transfer, minority, and lower-socioeconomic students are in this group as well. [Identifying first-generation students] is really a good way to capture those students who may need support on our campus.”
Both Lockwood and LaFave are first-generation college students who graduated from Cornell.
LaFave and Lockwood told audience members they are working with faculty advisors to ensure they are aware of the struggles facing first-generation students. The training addresses the “imposter phenomenon” – the idea that these students prefer to blend in. “They really don’t want to be found out,” LaFave said. “They’d rather sit in the classroom and not be noticed. That’s one thing advisors need to be aware of,” so that they can support them “quietly.”
Faculty advisors are also clarifying their syllabuses and expectations to ensure there’s no “hidden curriculum.” Other support efforts include direct outreach such as letters informing first-generation students where they can find support, and the promotion of study groups. There’s also an initiative to improve engagement in programs such as study abroad. “Our role is to help them understand this process, and really support them in participating in study abroad and doing research,” said Lockwood.
During the question and answer period, audience members offered further suggestions for supporting first-generation students, such as implementing student success ambassadors and engaging students’ parents and families in the campus community.
Awarding credit for military experience
On Monday, Dawn Light presented “An Evaluator’s Primer: The Evaluation of Learning Acquired and Awarding of Credit for Military Training and Experience.”
Some takeaways for session attendees include:
• The American Council on Education doesn’t transfer credit, but instead makes credit recommendations. Registrars and admissions officers can use these recommendations to replace a required course, as an optional course within the major, as a general elective, to meet basic degree requirements, or to waive a prerequisite.
• ACE asks that higher education institutions be transparent with military students about which credits are accepted, and which are not.
• The Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard are moving to a Joint Services Transcript (JST), a purple transcript modeled after the SMART transcript.
• ACE will not eliminate the summary page from their transcripts, since many institutions have requested that they remain. Although it is not an official portion of the ACE transcript, many consider it to serve as a valuable overview of what the transcript states.
For additional information, go to http://www.dantes.doded.mil/DANTES_Homepage.html and explore Dante’s Program.
On Sunday, Preconference workshop “Admissions 101” presenters delivered segments on Processing and Operations, (Dr. Tammy Johnson, Executive Director of Admissions, Marshall University); Enrollment Management, (Chris J. Foley, Director of Undergraduate Admissions, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis); and Professional Responsibilities (Carrie Trentham, Interim Director of Admissions, University of Nevada, Las Vegas).
The one-day workshop was geared towards new or aspiring assistant, associate, and director-level personnel with previous experience in admissions or recruitment. The processing and operations segments focused on the steps in processing management, and provided an overview of an office’s ideal situation, and the steps required to get there.
The enrollment management piece included advice about how to get an institution’s message across in different media and the use of targeted messages for different audiences; wise allocation of resources, such as focusing on emerging markets over established ones; and integration of departments to support marketing plans. Benchmarks and methods of accountability such as Google analytics and email tracking can play critical roles.
Anticipatory enrollment management has become an important concept in the strategic enrollment management world, as has sustainability. Structures of enrollment management may reside in different areas—such as academic affairs, student affairs, business affairs, advancement, development, and the president’s office. Good working relationships throughout the institution are essential.
In the professional responsibilities segments, teamwork, the hiring process, and personnel management received primary focus. According to the presenters, “The way management treats an associate is the way the associate will treat a customer."
By: AACRAO Connect