Why COM graduation rates are spiking

COM grad Melanie Lauret

In two years, College of the Mainland student Melanie Lauret returned to college after more than a decade, joined the honor society and became the first in her family to earn a degree.

She is not alone in her transformation from a student unprepared for college math to one now pursuing a bachelor’s degree. 

COM six-year graduation rates have increased more than 10 percent from 2000 to 2014, above the statewide graduation increase of more than seven percent according to recently released Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. COM’s three-year graduation rate is also up 6.8 percent, which is above the state average.

Fueling the increase in part are COM’s new efforts to help students succeed - including using students’ photos on class rosters so professors can call each student by name from day one. It also increased offerings of Psychology for Success classes, which guide students in the study and life skills needed to excel.

“(Psychology for Success) really changed my life,” said Lauret. “It made me take a better look at myself to realize I’m not scared to speak my mind. It taught me how to get along better with people.”

The initiatives are part of a COM Student Success Model, which focuses on six key aspects of the student’s academic journey: helping students get a good start in college, removing obstacles in their path (whether financial or academic), engaging them in campus life, providing high-quality instruction, ensuring that faculty, staff and facilities are excellent, and nurturing and maintaining community connections.  

The model follows the work COM conducted as an Achieving the Dream Leader College, a national initiative aimed at improving success rates among community college students. To become a leader college, COM submitted data demonstrating three successive years of improvement on specific indicators of student success.

"Other institutions have requested information about COM’s strategic planning process,” said COM Vice President for Instruction Dr. Pam Millsap. “This process guarantees that the college will stay focused on the thing that matters most: student success.”

For more information on COM classes and to read student success stories, visit www.com.edu/success.

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