Current and former community college students talked about their goals and challenges for Student Voices on the Higher Education Pathway, a report by Public Agenda and WestEd for the Gates-funded Completion by Design.
Five themes emerged from focus group discussions:
1. Students wanted more exposure to career possibilities so that they could make better-informed decisions about the goals they set out to achieve and the steps necessary for success.
2. Most believed that the student success and developmental education courses intended to bring them up to speed were not offered in a way that helped them succeed.
3. Participants believed that having clear goals, and being in programs with well-defined pathways, gave them a greater chance of persisting, completing, or transferring.
4. Advisers, counselors, and faculty members who offer support and guidance that is accurate, accessible, and tailored to students’ educational and career goals are in high demand and can be hard to come by.
5. Although students know colleges offer a wide range of services, they report that finding the specific information or services is difficult.
Most students said they were not well prepared academically for community college challenges.