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Least Engaged Community College Students

Students who are less engaged are at the greatest risk of dropping out. Colleges should identify the least engaged students at their own institutions and direct resources to interventions that will more effectively connect these students with the college community.

For example, students who work more than 30 hours per week are less likely to be engaged, but students who work on campus have more opportunity to be highly engaged. Thus, colleges might consider staffing college programs with more student workers.

This strategy may have the added benefit of better engaging students who come into contact with the student employees. As one staff member notes in a focus group, “Students work our front counter, so a lot of times you have students [saying], ‘Hey, wait a minute, you’re in my class!’ So, we have the students-helping-students thing going on.”

Least Engaged Students* Part-time students

Traditional-age students (those 24 and younger)

Students not seeking credentials

Students who have not completed 30 or more credits

Male students

Financially independent students (those using their own income or savings as the major source to pay the tuition while not using their parents’ or spouse’s money)

Students who work more than 30 hours per week

Students who have not taken developmental courses

Students who have not taken study skill courses

Students who have not participated in orientation

Students who have not participated in learning communities

*This analysis does not include students who hold degrees. Source: 2009 CCSSE Cohort data.

6

2009 Findings

Primary

Secondary

Not a

goal

goal

goal

Complete a certificate program Obtain an associate degree

30% 60%

19% 20%

51% 20%

Transfer to a four-year college or university

51%

22%

27%

Obtain or update job-related skills Self-improvement/personal enjoyment Change careers

42% 40%

27% 34%

31% 26% 55%

29%

16%

Students’ Goals

Indicate which of the following are your reasons goals for attending this college.

Source: 2009 CCSSE Cohort data.

Students’ Plans after the Current Semester

Asked when they plan to take classes at this college again, 22% had no plan to return or were uncertain about their future plans.

I have no current plan to return

I will accomplish my goal(s) during

5%

this term and will not be returning

Barriers to Returning to College

How likely is it that the following issues would cause you to withdraw from class or from this college?

Percentage of students responding likely or very likely

Lack of finances

46%

12%

17%

Uncertain

Working full-time

37%

66%

Within the next 12 months

Caring for dependents 28%

Source: 2009 CCSSE Cohort data.

Being academically unprepared 19%

  • 0

    20 40 60 80 100

In addition, 48% of respondents say that transfer to a four-year college or university is a likely or very likely reason they would not return to this college.

Source: 2009 CCSSE Cohort data.

Making Connections: Dimensions of Student Engagement

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