Honolulu Community College knows that adapting to college life after high school, or after being out of school for while, can be difficult as new students often struggle with different academic and social expectations. Nationally, the highest drop-rates occur between the first and second year of college.
Honolulu CC is addressing the issue with a short video for first-year students, featuring former and current Honolulu CC students sharing their personal struggles and eventual successes as they transitioned into college. They tell them that the struggles are normal, to stick with it, and there are many avenues for help.
“It’s important that our students know that feelings of anxiety and desires to belong are absolutely normal,” says Honolulu CC Vice Chancellor Karen Lee, who spearheaded the effort with the UH System Office of Academic Planning and Policy. “They may have few or no friends at first, or could be discouraged by a bad grade on that first test. These are the types of stories that are real and shared in the video. We want our new students to know that they are not alone; it will get better as they stick with it, and there is help available.”
Starting in fall 2018, the video was shown in all of the English 100 classes and will be emailed to students. Lee got the idea after attending a national conference where she saw similar videos other colleges had produced.
“It’s about improving the first-year college experience, and encouraging students to stick with college,” said Lee.