Success Coaching Impacts Community College Student Retention, Research Shows

November 1, 2021
  • SEMQ
  • Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM)
  • AM22 Supporting Today's Student
three open books stacked on top of each other

Many institutions, in an effort to increase retention and completion rates, are implementing intensive coaching that includes mentorship and counseling in addition to academic advising, write Derek V. Price, Jessa L. Valentine, and Alexander Leader in a new SEMQ article

The authors discuss the U.S. Department of Education’s First in the World (FITW) Validation Study of Carolina Works, which conducted the first-ever large-scale, multi-institution experiment to “examine technology-enabled success coaching as a strategy to provide personalized and proactive support services that are informed by real-time data on students’ academic and non-academic progress and challenges, including the use of predictive analytics to prioritize outreach and engagement.” 

Ten North Carolina community colleges participated in the five-year study. More than 10,700 students were assigned to the study sample, 50 percent of whom were assigned a success coach. Over the five years, 37 success coaches were employed across the campuses. They were trained to provide email and text outreach to students on their caseloads on the first day of each semester, followed by more individualized, proactive outreach throughout the term. They reached out to students based on automatically-generated notifications that included both positive achievements as well as challenges associated with attendance, grades, and early alerts initiated by faculty and staff. 

The research results indicated that “technology-enabled success coaching can be an effective approach for strategic enrollment management to build reliable and trusting relationships with students that impact retention and completion. The results also point to several implications for practice in terms of how coaching can be used to address persistent equity gaps in higher education, and in terms of the institution-level factors that can make coaching interventions most effective.”

The authors concluded:

“With more intentionality, resources, and dedication of enrollment managers, student services professionals, faculty, and executive leaders, colleges can successfully implement technology-enabled success coaching to achieve the results they want—more students earning a credential who are better prepared for life and a career.”

Other features in the latest SEMQ include: 

SEMQ provides knowledge and insight into the ongoing evolution of strategic enrollment management (SEM) by bridging the gap between theory and practice. Articles by thought leaders and practitioners address the emerging dynamics of SEM, including: executive-level leadership, leading strategies, internationalization, research, academic orientation, and current trends.

For more information, or to submit a manuscript, please contact the Editor-in-Chief or the Managing Editor.


AACRAO's bi-weekly professional development e-newsletter is open to members and non-members alike.