January 17, 2018

Engage, connect and invest for post-college success

Engage, connect and invest for post-college success - Photo copyright Donald Lee "Red" Sullivan

Though a college degree is one of many factors that can lead to your success, there are many factors that can contribute to whether you are ultimately successful in completing your degree. Research has shown that student engagement or involvement both in the classroom and in college life can have an impact on retention rates, ultimately effecting the number of students who are graduating with degrees. Here are just a few ways that greater involvement in the classroom and in college life can increase your chances of finishing your degree, which can then lead to greater post-college success.

More Engagement Leads to Better Grades

When you are more engaged in the classroom, you are more likely to get better grades, which will encourage you to remain in your degree program. Greater engagement in the classroom will also lead to a more thorough understanding of the material, which will make you a better worker. Engagement in the classroom can include overt measures such as more participation in classroom discussions, or it can be more subtle, such as when you feel more enthusiasm about the material as a result of personal interest or exceptional teaching practices.

Whatever the reason for the engagement, when you are more involved in the classroom, you can gain a greater understanding of the material, leading to better grades that will ensure retention and creating a more solid foundation of knowledge and skills to enter the workforce.

Greater Connection Leads to Higher Retention Rates

There are many factors that can influence retention rates, including family educational history, the cultural environment at the school, financial circumstances and competing responsibilities, such as work and family. One significant influence on retention rates is the level of connection that students feel to the school and to student life. If you don’t feel connected to your classmates and to the campus culture, you are less likely to want to remain in your degree program.

According to research by Laura Saret, students who don’t feel a connection to their classmates, both socially and culturally, are more likely to leave their degree program before they finish it. A literature review by Loretta Seppanen found that students who were more involved both academically and socially were more likely to remain in their programs and complete their degrees.

Though there has been debate about the role that colleges and universities could (or should) play in increasing student involvement and integration, it is clear that students who are more engaged in the academic or social setting are much more likely to remain in the program and finish their degrees. Finding ways to feel more connected to your classmates, your professors, or college life can help you to find success.

Greater Investment Leads to Greater Post-College Success

When you are feeling more engaged and feel more of a commitment to your academic program, you are much more likely to retain the knowledge you gained from the classroom and to feel a greater motivation to excel in the work force. Therefore, it is much more likely that when you are more engaged throughout your degree program, you are going to be more successful after your program has ended.

It is clear that finding ways to get students more engaged both in and out of the classroom can help to improve student retention rates, which can also improve success rates in the professional sector. Educators and advocates must work together to find strategies that work to improve student engagement. Successful students make for a more successful college. As a student, you can also work to find ways to get more involved and to find a greater connection, whether that means being more thoughtful in your choices for your class schedule or finding organizations to get involved with on campus.

About the Author: Kelly Opferman is a seasoned writer who at this time focuses on her autoloancalculator.org site. Her educational background includes finance, teaching, and economics.

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