Improve the Transition to College: Teach Students How to Build Networks Using the Connected Scholars Program

Innovation Research & Training (iRT)
Durham, NC
The Connected Scholars program utilizes the old adage “Who you know is as important as what you know” to improve college transition experiences and graduation rates. In fact, many colleges struggle with low retention rates, in part, because students don’t feel connected to the faculty and staff on campus. According to a recent Gallup Poll, only 27% of graduates felt that their professors cared about them as a person and only 22% said they had a mentor who encouraged them to pursue their goals and dreams. These low feelings of connection and belonging occur in spite of the proliferation of programs offered to high school, summer transition, and college students designed to help students adjust to college. A growing body of research shows that networks of relationships are critical for college and career success. For instance, a family’s socioeconomic status is a better predictor of graduating from college than a student’s academic achievement.