College dropout crisis

The College Dropout Crisis: Moving the Needle

Fulcrum Labs
138 posts

According to research, nearly 70% of college success can’t be predicted by academic variables. There are many other factors at play.For example, we know that things like family income, academic self-efficacy, strong communication skills, and even seemingly unconnected variables like gym attendance, are all non-academic predictors of college success. How well a student scored on a standardized test or even how well they performed in high school matters…just not as much as one might think (although, one of those is definitely a stronger indicator of success than the other).

Educators, counselors and administrators see this frustrating phenomenon every day. Students are admitted, but despite good high school grades, they’re not equipped with the skills they need to succeed in the university environment. In fact, fewer than 40% of students enrolling for the first time at a four-year college graduate in four years. For community colleges, more than 50% of students who start college drop out within six years.

With the rising rates of college debt, increases in college costs, and the research that shows student who complete college typically go on to earn more and live happier, healthier lives, the college dropout rate is a must-solve problem.

“A bachelor’s degree is the single most influential determinant in multigenerational change and ending the cycle of poverty.” Catherine Suitor, the chief advancement officer at Alliance, The New York Times

Four-year universities and community colleges are putting considerable effort against this struggle. According to a new report from the New York Times, the College Dropout Crisis, some colleges have higher rates of graduation because they institute more structure for their students in the form of academic paths and degree roadmaps. There’s also a link between higher graduation rates and connectedness – both to the school itself (e.g. on-campus housing) and to the relationships fostered by the university (with peers, instructors, counselors, etc.).

Finally, research shows that teaching students how to be college students can be a key factor in increasing graduation rates. To that end, some universities are fine-tuning their advising services to be less about dealing with academic issues, and more about dealing with the full range of problems that college students face. Others are providing training and course work to help students learn how to be more successful in the college environment.

It’s in this vein that we developed our Steps to Success course. Steps to Success is made up of 12 skills-based Units designed to increase the likelihood of achievement and on-time graduation by building up a learner’s mastery and confidence in critical areas, such as:

While these topics might seem obvious at first glance, especially to someone who has already mastered them, if a person isn’t equipped with these skills, success can be elusive and the pathway stressful.

Note: It’s very easy to select and order just the skills your learners need and create a your own, custom Steps to Success course.

All Units are delivered through Fulcrum’s Adaptive 3.0 learning platform. This means students get to experience the benefits of our AI-powered approach, like:

  • The ability to go at their own pace and access the course on demand – as their schedules allow
  • A microlearning format that makes it easier for them to digest the content and allows them to engage and complete short learning sessions (5-7 minutes) with greater flexibility, even when they only have a few spare moments
  • A sure-fire way to master the fundamental skills they need to be successful in college in a way that’s not overwhelming
  • A big boost in confidence that comes from knowing they have the necessary skills AND that they can actually apply those skills in the real world
  • A positive first college learning experience that gives students momentum to tackle challenging coursework, and sets the stage for continued engagement and success

Most importantly, students say – it’s a “life saver!” In fact, our Steps to Success course gets consistent positive feedback from learners who tell us things like:

“The course was very informative… I cannot wait for class to start!”

“It was easy and effective and is really motivating me to keep going and have my goals mapped out.”

“It has made it very easy to succeed in college life.”

“Love it! Thank you!”

The Steps to Success skills library of content is comprised of 96 micro-learning Sections with a total of 6 hours of video content (a combination of live-action, motion graphics and both 2D & 3D animation) to support the lessons and interactive practice questions. It is currently the most popular course in our library of content.

Our higher education content library also includes other courses that target academic fundamentals, such as:

  • Fundamentals of Reading & Writing
  • Intermediate Algebra
  • Macroeconomics
  • Statistics
  • Fundamentals of Marketing
  • Principles of Psychology

If your institution is looking for new ways to help students succeed, improve graduation rates and increase student achievement (thereby reducing the number of college dropouts on your campus(es)), let’s connect. We’ll share a short overview of our approach, give you access to try out our Steps to Success course for yourself and walk through how we’ve worked with schools just like yours to make implementation and integration seamless and stress free.