Helping dual enrollment students achieve post-secondary goals: the role of college advising

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Amanda Crisley Everhart (Creator)
Institution
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site: http://library.wcu.edu/
Advisor
Needham Yancey Gulley

Abstract: This particular disquisition endeavored to explore a problem of practice within the highereducation arena. The topic of dual enrollment programs was chosen as the area of focus. Dualenrollment allows for high school students to take college classes in order to prepare foracademic and career goals after high school. For the context of this disquisition, I narrowedfocus to the service region of Southwestern Community College in the western mountains ofNorth Carolina (Appalachia).For the sake of this work I looked at how dual enrollment coordinators could better serveNorth Carolina’s high school students. The Appalachian region was selected for the studybecause the area has a high poverty rate coupled with a low rate of residents receiving highereducation credentials. Based on my own experience as a dual enrollment coordinator in theSmoky Mountains, I drew from a pivotal dilemma that I often faced with my student population.Every semester I was registering high school students for college classes. What I noticedwas that the high school students were not receiving any form of college advising. This was a red flag for me because the high school students were being treated like post-secondary students, however, they were not experiencing the same college related advising that helped make postsecondary students successful.A major issue that resulted from the lack of advising was that the high school students didnot have an awareness of college policies. One of the biggest examples of this discrepancy wasthat the high school students did not understand aspects of college life such as drop/add policies. A critical symptom resulting from this lack of advising-especially not knowing the drop/add policy existed- included a high rate of withdraws from college classes. The high rate ofwithdraws in turn resulted in Fs on high school transcripts, delayed high school graduations, andan inability to transfer dual enrollment course credits to other institutions. Students also were not understanding the overall concept of transferring credits to other institutions, which led to many dual enrollment students taking classes other institutions would not give credit for.A lack of college advising seemed like a substantial problem to me because I felt that as a dual enrollment coordinator, I had a responsibility to make sure participation in my college’s dual enrollment program was not harmful for my dual enrollment students (Smith, 2017). For me, students being unable to graduate high school because of indiscretions made in dualenrollment classes, was an issue that needed addressing from a social justice stand point.Referring to social justice, my driving factor was that all students had a right to be fully informed about their college undertaking by the dual enrollment institution they attended.My institution was holding awareness orientations and advising post-secondary students, but was not offering those same resources to dual enrollment students. In not advising the dual enrollment population for college readiness the institution was creating imbalance in how it’s educational practices were being distributed. The dual enrollment students still had the sameperformance expectations as post-secondary students. To correct the issue, I decided to design an advising centered improvement initiative.The initiative laid out a uniform advising structure that was to be administered to a test group of dual enrollment students. The goal of the improvement was to try and fix the symptoms brought on by a lack of advising, mainly withdrawals and not understanding college transferability.The most tangible way to measure success of the improvement was to see if withdrawnumbers decreased amongst the population of students who were advised. I chose this as asuccess measure because it seemed to be one of the only factors that could be quantitativelytracked in the short-term. Measuring the ability to transfer college classes to other institutionswould have required a much larger study that covered a period of at least five years, as juniors and seniors graduated and tried to send their dual enrollment credits to other institutions.

Additional Information

Publication
Dissertation
Language: English
Date: 2019
Keywords
Appreciative Advising, Career and College Promise, Career Coaching, Career Guidance, College Advising for High School, Dual Enrollment

Email this document to