Waterbury, CT - Fall midterms are hardly over but for 227 NVCC students, exams are just the final steps to graduating this May.
As part of an initiative by the Center for Academic Planning and Student Success (CAPSS), fall students registered for a full-time course load with more than 30 credits under their belt are being sought out beginning in the summer to help initiate the at-times-tedious process of applying for graduation.
Students who respond to the email and direct mail blasts are encouraged to set up appointments with advisors individually or to attend the fall Graduation Review Clinic to see if they’ll be ready to graduate in 2014.
According to Bonnie Goulet, CAPSS counselor and graduation liaison, the Graduation Review Clinic is the ideal venue for seniors to make sure their courses meet degree criterion and to get advised for the spring semester.
“Not only do we look back at a student’s academic history to make sure their courses match up to their degree requirements, but we also help students lock into their remaining classes by offering advance spring registration,” explained Goulet.
Division directors are also on hand as field experts and to facilitate course substitutions as needed, eliminating yet another potential barrier from the graduation process.
“It’s fantastic,” said Mitch Holmes, director of business and professional studies. “The ability to meet with students in their last credit hours gives them a direct vehicle to graduation and puts everyone they need in the same room. And I think for students there’s a sort of celebratory feeling, being among fellow graduates.”
The College has been hosting biannual graduation review clinics since fall 2011 and has seen a steady increase in responders but there is still a sizeable population of students who are slipping through the advising net. CAPSS director Ben Mattheis says that targeting students in their waning academic hours at the College is just the first of many ways that the Center is trying to outreach to future graduates.
“We have set the bar high for ourselves this year in terms of completion numbers so we’re getting more thorough in how we prepare students for graduation,” said Mattheis.
Over the past two years, CAPSS facilitated the college-wide advising program and added advising holds to student registration. Currently, Mattheis says the Center is focused on working proactively with students in danger of being dropped for non-payment.
“A lot of students don’t realize that we can help them find resources or plan their schedules differently so they don’t get dropped,” said Mattheis.
Spring graduation clinics will also be held in Waterbury and Danbury for students who feel they are ready to graduate but the biggest push will continue to be in the fall, said Goulet.
“We have 125 faculty and staff advisors who are ready and waiting to get students across that stage,” she said.