For the past year, the RaiseMe team has connected with community college educators all over the country to introduce how transfer micro-scholarships can play a vital part in promoting Associate’s Degree completion and transfer success. As part of National Community College Month, we’ve taken the time to reflect on the community we have built, lessons we have learned, and the successes our two year partners have had in using RaiseMe to engage students. Based on these learnings, RaiseMe has compiled best practices rooted in recommendations from front-line educators at community colleges across the nation.
Transfer Student Success at Oakton
Oakton Community College, located just north of Chicago, is a RaiseMe partner that has implemented a “whole college” approach to transfer student planning, introducing micro-scholarships as a key part of their strategy. Serving students in Chicago’s North Shore suburbs like Des Plaines and Skokie, IL., Oakton students commonly transfer to RaiseMe partners such as Columbia College and Arizona State University, and the school has a long history of expanding articulation agreements with four-year colleges. With a purposeful focus on academic advising, Oakton’s transfer success model has engaged students in meaningful conversations about how RaiseMe micro-scholarships can aid students on their transfer journey in several ways:
- Transfer Basics Workshops: Oakton included information on RaiseMe in their workshops throughout the semester, which focuses on both academic and financial planning. RaiseMe has a number of financial planning curriculum pieces that help reinforce that being a successful transfer student means thinking about tuition and expenses early, so you can develop a plan.
- Advisor & Faculty Engagement: Space was created to allow the RaiseMe team to present to advisors, faculty, and leadership to demonstrate both the student and educator platforms. Additionally, RaiseMe was shared in planning meetings, including during conversations about Guided Pathways, highlighting how micro-scholarships support existing institutional priorities around completion, retention, and transfer. RaiseMe is available to present to your team as well, and you can spread the word too.
- Classroom Conversations: RaiseMe makes it easy to share an announcement in your online course shell inviting students to join us. Try posting this course announcement, your students will be happy you were thinking of them.
- Student Engagement: RaiseMe met directly with Oakton student leaders to discuss how their service directly correlates with scholarships. Students also had the opportunity to give feedback to RaiseMe, providing them with a valuable experience in self efficacy.
- Advisory Board Presentations: Oakton introduced RaiseMe to their network of educators via face to face meetings, email, and newsletters, creating a larger pool of educators who are excited about helping students with micro-scholarships. This strategy will continue throughout the Spring, with support from the RaiseMe team.
- Transfer Fairs: Oakton hosts a number of fairs dedicated to transfer planning each year, including fairs focused on serving underrepresented students. At the fairs, literature about transferring and flyers about getting started on RaiseMe are readily available to students, encouraging them to create a profile early so they can keep transfer planning top of mind.
- Half of the students who attended Transfer Basics Workshops reported that RaiseMe was the most valuable thing they learned about during their session.
- Faculty and staff are using the educator portal to access information about their student’s transfer college interests, equipping them to be more effective in supporting their students.
- Oakton has over 60 students using RaiseMe, who have already earned over $116,000 in scholarships.
“What I found was that students specifically listed RaiseMe as the most useful resource/piece of information discussed during this [Transfer] workshop. For context, half of them listed RaiseMe.”-Brian Bacon, Transfer Coordinator, Oakton Community College
Want to share in successes like Oakton Community College has? Try the best practices linked above, consult our getting started tips, and access tools in our free educator portal at www.raise.me/educator. Upon selecting “community college” as your educator type, and follow the sign up prompts, and becoming verified, you can see the portfolios of students from your institution, along with which schools they are interested in, and how much they are earning!
With students from nearly 1,000 community colleges using RaiseMe for transfers, chances are your students have already found us.
For questions regarding how your two-year college can partner with RaiseMe for free, contact Tara Zirkel at firstname.lastname@example.org.