Making Sure They Make It

Making Sure They Make It report cover

​The colleges and universities chosen to participate in the CIC/Walmart College Success Awards program all shared and demonstrated a commitment to the recruitment, retention, and academic success of first-generation students. Nonetheless, the programs and policies already in place on their campuses, as well as the new initiatives funded by the awards, vary a great deal—which is to be expected given the wide-ranging differences in the size and characteristics of the populations they serve. Although the initiatives themselves vary, all are informed by an understanding of the distinctive challenges faced by first generation students and are targeted toward what research shows these students most need for academic success. In their simplest form, these challenges are:

  • Connection: The need to feel that they are a part of the campus community—that is, to enjoy enduring relationships, have a satisfying social life, engage in fulfilling activities outside of the classroom, and feel a sense of belongingness on the campus;

  • Preparation: The need for basic academic skills (reading, writing, taking notes, studying, and quantitative literacy) as well as knowledge about how to succeed in, and after, college—for example, registering for classes, choosing a major, taking advantage of campus resources, thinking about a career, dressing professionally, managing time and stress, interviewing, and dealing with family pressures; and

  • Money: The need for financial support not only for basic expenses (tuition, room and board), but to buy books, travel home, participate in social life with other students, and pursue summer and weekend activities, such as extra coursework or unpaid internships in lieu of a paid job.

​Council of Independent Colleges
By Kerry J. Strand
October 2013

Student Demographics; Graduation Rates