Starting Off On The Right Foot

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BETHLEHEM, PA (08/02/2018) Both Northampton Community College's (NCC) Bethlehem and Monroe campuses offer students who are most at risk of not finishing their education a smart way to start in their major of choice. Many of these first-year students who participate in NCC's Smart Start Program are first-generation college students who need extra attention and care when navigating college success.

Elba Carides, NCC counselor, says counselors mentor, guide and have group meetings to help students cope with their college experiences. "Our staff helps students with priority registration, financial aid and referrals to the Learning Center."

The program is announced at NCC new student orientations, students who may need a helping hand as they begin their NCC journey are invited to apply to the program.

Once students apply, they come to their respective campus for an orientation to go over the week-long program. The students who participate in Smart Start persist and complete at a much higher rate than those who don't go through the program. Usually, the retention rate from fall to spring for students enrolled in Smart Start is 97% or higher.

The class is usually held in July before the fall semester starts. Discussions revolve around college resources, critical thinking tools, conflict resolution and confidence in courses like mathematics and English.

"Students who participate in this program are ready to start college before they start their first day of class. The team building, communication and interpersonal skills they learn helps them to start their first semester with confidence. In-depth assessments and workshops give the participants more than a leg up as they begin their college journey," says Carides.