I was an at-risk student

You will hear me say often, and loudly, that I was an at-risk student. I know what it feels like to not be living up to one’s potential. I am also intimately familiar with the feeling that no one on campus can see me; no one cares that I am not doing well, no one is paying attention to my struggling, and most devastating- that no one is offering me any help.

 

Automatic notice: You’re failing

iPhone Missed Class Think for just a second what it means to a student in that state of mind to receive an automatic email that says something like, “You have 5 absences in your history class. Please be advised that if you miss one more, you will be dropped from the class. If you have any questions, talk to your faculty or your advisor.”

 

It.

Is.

Crushing.

So: now I know, I am seen. My institution sees what a failure I am. They know I can’t get it together. They are counting how many times I have stayed in my bed instead of going to class. Not only that, but there are consequences coming. I have to get it together NOW or it will all come crashing down.  I should talk to my advisor or my instructor…(this is the last thing I want to do).  

What I now know: I am defeated.

 

These students are already overwhelmed

Remember we are talking about at-risk students. These are not the kind of students who receive notification about an absence, or a low test grade and are motivated. These are not students who are self-directed, who speak out in class, or who advocate for themselves. I am talking about students who are lost, depressed, ashamed, overwhelmed, and struggling.

For students who are not performing well, neatly and conveniently summarizing all the ways they are failing does not help them.

 

Is there someone who will help me?

Again, let me speak for struggling students. What they need to hear is that someone is on their side, and they are going

If you want to increase student success on your campus, offer students a relationship with someone who is invested in helping them succeed. Your at-risk students will be so grateful.

help with a plan to recover. They need the name of a person who will say,

“Hey! We can fix this. Please come and see me and I will help you. I know what I am doing. I am on your side. I believe in you, and I want to listen and help.”  

This makes all the difference.

If you want to increase student success on your campus, offer students a relationship with someone who is invested in helping them succeed. Your at-risk students will be so grateful.

You will change a student’s life. Be that difference.

Be That Difference

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About Rachel Phillips-Buck

Rachel Phillips-Buck is the Vice President and a Senior Consultant at Pharos Resources. She works closely with clients to create and coordinate best retention practices on their campuses. She has worked with Pharos 360 since 2006, helping to develop and implement this early alert system on campuses throughout the United States. Prior to her work with Pharos Resources, she worked as a career counselor at Abilene Christian University. She taught the Career and Life Planning Class, and created and delivered the “D!scovery for Deciding” program, a five-week program that helps students choose, confirm and focus his/her major. Rachel is a Licensed Professional Counselor, and approaches all of her work with Pharos Resources with a perspective informed by her training in Systems Theory. Rachel received a BS in Psychology and a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from ACU.

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