You need to have a passion in teaching a diploma in childcare so that you can transfer your knowledge to the young ones. Retention of students in their first year of Career Colleges is a mounting challenge. Student retention is such a priority that most Career Colleges hold special meetings once a week to track each student who has not showed up for class. Because the students that attend Career Colleges typically have jobs, families, and financial challenges retaining them in their first year of school has become a huge issue. Retention is everybody’s concern at any Career College. From the front desk person, to the faculty and staff, right up the line to the Campus President…everybody should be concerned about retaining students. Here are 10 strategies for retaining your students in their first year:
1. Greet Them At The Door: Make it a Campus mission for some of your faculty and staff to meet and greet students as they come into school in the morning or evening. Your student will appreciate that you are there to help. It also gets the staff to know the students and can answer questions.
2. Faculty Involvement: Make it mandatory that each first year student meet with their faculty advisor at least once a term. Students can get lost in the shuffle during the first year and if they don’t make a connection early and often they are at a higher risk of dropping out. Meet with your students!
3. Diversity Training: Career Colleges attract a high percentage of minority students, however, the faculty and staff may not reflect the same diversity. Getting your faculty and staff to understand and be sensitive to other cultures is crucial to retaining your students. Students in Career Colleges feel much more comfortable with faculty and staff if they see a wide range of diversity. Hire a diversity consultant to come to your faculty and staff meetings to help your campus deal with this issue.
4. Clean Facilities: You would think this would be a no brainer, but many times clean classrooms, bathrooms, and break rooms are not a priority and career colleges. Any Campus President is fooling themselves if they think a clean building does not matter in retaining student. Students don’t want to sit in a dirty facility nor do they want to be paying for it. Make sure your facility is well maintained right from the parking lot to the classrooms.
5. Hands On Activities: Employers and students are demanding that Career Colleges put more into hands on learning. This approach means less training for the employer and a better prepared student. Career Colleges must keep the class room exciting and keep the attention of the student or they will end up dropping out. Keeping students engaged in the class room will help with retention.
6. Student Recognition: Since students at career colleges sometimes have self esteem issues, recognition of the little stuff really does matter. Once a term you should recognize your students for attendance, class participation, volunteering, and academic achievement. Your student are hungry for this because they may not get it at home or work. Also hold a Student Appreciation Day once a quarter where the faculty and staff serve pizza and soda to the students. This is a nice way to show that you care.
7. Ombudsperson: Students will have many life challenges that if compounded will result in a student dropping out of school. Issues like child care, financial, family, and transportation are issues that must be dealt with. If you want to retain your students you must have someone to help them through these hardships. Dealing with these issues should not be taken lightly. If you don’t help them through these issues they will drop out.
8. Gender Specific Activities: Because many school populations are nearly fifty percent women it would make sense that you add value to your campus by holding gender specific activities. Consider holding a child friendly day once a month. Invite students to bring their children and hire a childcare professional to watch the kids for the day. Consider holding a workshop on health issues for women. Hold a Daddy Day and ask community leaders to come in and speak about the challenges of fatherhood.
9. Training: Student retention is everybody’s business, so train your faculty and staff to understand the importance of student customer service. Teach them that every time a student inter- acts with one of them it is a subliminal commercial that the students takes home with them. The goal is to make all those commercials positive and upbeat. If you master this, you will retain your students.
10. Finally, smile, smile, and smile some more. Students like the warm and fuzzy more than you can imagine.
Troy Lawson has spent over a decade in the career college/higher education industry and is an expert in telephone sales. He has worked for and consulted with several of the industry leaders in this field. You can find out more about Mr. Lawson at and view his training programs.
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