How to Finish Your College Degree When You Don't Know Where to Start

A program at California University of Pennsylvania pairs students with coaches who will help them to create education plans that are tailored to their needs and experiences.

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Nearly 1.2 million people from Pennsylvania have started but not completed a college education, according to officials at California University of Pennsylvania. In order to help students who want to complete their degrees but don’t know where to start, the school has launched a new degree-completion program called The Finish Line. This program pairs students with coaches who will help them to create education plans that are tailored to their needs and experiences. Students can take classes on campus or online, and they may be able to earn credits for past work experience. The coaches also will assist students with financial aid applications and other aspects of the program, which is open to students with college credits from any school. 

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An Education Trust report titled “Rising Tide: Do College Grad Rate Gains Benefit All Students?” has ranked Slippery Rock University among the top 15 schools in the country for improving completion rates over the last decade for all students — and particularly for African American, Latino and Native American students. The three-year average graduation rate for these often underrepresented students is 48.9 percent, an increase of 17.4 percent over a 10-year time span. The rate for white students is 62.8 percent, an increase of 11.2 percent over the same time period. In a statement, Slippery Rock President Cheryl Norton spoke of the hard work involved in these rising numbers, saying, “The recognition speaks to our commitment to providing all students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences they need to be successful in their lives, their careers and to be better citizens." 


In early November, La Roche College hosted Immersions, an annual challenge for graphic-design students at the school. Each year, teams of students are allotted 60 hours to create concepts and solutions to resolve an issue and to pitch their ideas to an outside client. In past years, clients have included Attack Theatre and Global Links; the client for 2015 was the Office of Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto. The students’ task was to raise awareness of “Welcoming Pittsburgh,” an initiative launched to create a more diverse workforce in the city. “This project not only gives students an opportunity to interact with real-world clients, but it also gives students the opportunity to help local nonprofits,” says Graphic Design Department Chair Neha Agarwal in a press release. First- and second-place teams were chosen to partner with the Mayor’s office and put their ideas into practice. 


Categories: Great Minds