School is out and even if things were “normal” and we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic, we would still be providing support to students throughout the summer. This year, it’s even more crucial with so many unanswered questions about what the fall will hold for schools and concerns about how students will be impacted by summer melt.
Enter our summer superheroes: transition coaches.
This year College Possible Oregon has a total of five coaches. One coach works strictly with rising high school seniors, another with incoming first-year college students and the other three are support current college students. Each coach has a caseload of more than 200 students — which is a lot! In order to help coaches manage and prioritize their outreach, we assign students into different categories.
- Category one students are on track to persist and don’t have any additional barriers indicated. This means they’ve completed financial aid, registered for classes, completed campaign coaching, attended orientation, paid all required fees and more.
- Category two students are on track to persist but are facing at least one barrier that needs to be addressed.
- Category three students have completed one indicator but needs to complete additional items in order to enroll or confirm persistence.
- Category four students are not on track to persist and/or we have not been able to contact them.
- Category five students do not intend to enroll next semester.
These categories are based on the top three indicators we use to help predict which students will enroll in college for the first time, or persist toward their degree if they’re current college students. Our goal, which we’re confident we’ll reach with the help of the transition coaches, is to make sure at least 80% of students are in categories one or two by the end of August.
Beyond working with students to move them up in persistence categories, transition coaches also help to troubleshoot new issues facing students due to COVID-19, listen and empathize about what school will be like in the fall, and help with appeals on financial aid decisions. In one recent successful case, a student was awarded an additional $5,000 in aid after appealing that can be renewed each year they’re enrolled. That could result in an additional $20,000 over the course of their college education!
“We’re so fortunate to have five incredible coaches with us this summer, all who served with us last school year which means that they have really been able to hit the ground running. I’m glad that we’re able to effectively support our students during this critical time when nationally the summer melt rates are feared to be the worst we’ve seen,” said Program Coordinator Violeta Martin.
The transition coaches will be with us through the summer and will be able to seamlessly hand off students to their new coaches once they begin in August. This will mean a smooth transition and constant support for each of our students as they enter a new school year.