Preparing students for science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and healthcare fields - a two year college approach
Shell, Michael John
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The Becoming a Successful Student course offered at the Great Falls College Montana State University is designed to prepare students for future coursework by providing foundational study skills, time management, and goal setting. This study correlated the effectiveness of the Becoming a Successful Student Class with students interested in health science career and computer science tracks as well as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) field transfer programs by assessing student perception of effectiveness and then correlating that effectiveness with first semester Grade Point Average (GPA) on a 4.0 scale, along with credits attempted vs. credits successfully completed and then second semester mid-term GPA along with credits attempted. Face to face interviews with competitive entry health science program directors and division directors also gave a look at the anticipated competencies that students should have prior to acceptance into a program or transfer to a STEM school. The foundational framework of the Becoming a Successful Student applies to students that are new to the world of higher academics in order to reinforce and enhance previously learned skills in order to achieve success in future coursework. This also supports the mission of student retention by making the skills and knowledge to be successful able to be accessed by all new students. Although, initially it appears that the course had little effect on the future preparedness of students, it is important to note that at mid-term many students still have an opportunity to drop or withdraw from courses that they will not be successful in. Also, the students with grades less than 'B-' show the greatest increase in semester GPA at mid-term, suggesting that students who would not have been successful initially, obtained skills that they built on and reinforced their future success.