If you work with ATB and other non-traditional students, you are well aware that the odds of them dropping out are higher than with traditional students. Keeping them engaged and active in school can be an enormous challenge. If they slip behind and drop out, they’ll have more difficulty reaching their full potential, which can greatly affect their success later in life.
One of the key points in my video The Top 8 Risk Factors that Impact Student Retention is to assign a mentor to your high risk students. This can be a faculty member, a guidance counselor, administrator, etc. Just make sure your students know there is someone there who truly cares and has a vested interest in their success. This person needs to take the role of academic advisor one step further by establishing a personal connection with them.
Have the mentor talk to the student to find out what their circumstances outside of school are. Are they a single parent? Are they employed? Do they have access to transportation? What were the issues preventing them from completing high school? Get to know them and their personal challenges.
The mentor should have regular chats with the student to keep an eye on their attendance and progress with assignments, and offer support as needed.
Mentoring is a simple, fairly low-cost way to help non-traditional students reach their goals. Does your school have a mentoring program?