Elgin Community College (Illinois)

from a report by Dr. Mary Perkins, Associate Dean of Enrollment Management

In fall 2008, Elgin Community College adopted On Course as the text in a college success course that is required for all first-time, full-time students. The course has been a requirement at ECC since fall 2006. This one-credit course is called College Success, or COL 101, and its purpose is to guide students through their transition to college by learning essential success skills.  Approximately 1,200 new students enroll in this course annually.  There are approximately 80 sections annually taught by approximately 50 instructors.  Instructors teaching COL 101 must complete training annually and are provided with a number of tools and resources to ensure the course is taught consistently and with high quality.

Analyses of student retention show students who complete COL 101 are significantly more likely to return the following term [22%-29%] and year [28%-34%] than those who did not enroll.  In addition, students who successfully complete the course are more likely to return than those who completed earning grades of D, F, or W. 

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Conclusion: The On Course approach to student success has a positive impact on the retention of new students.

Dr. Perkins summarizes the results as “Having taught this course using a study skills text previously and watching my students use the On Course text now, I am convinced that we are focusing on what they need.  The topics of personal responsibility, self-management, self-awareness, self-motivation, and interdependence are issues that ALL students, regardless of ability level, are challenged with when they transition to a college environment.  Moreover, the improvements in student success are compelling.”