12 Touchpoints in 12 Months: Interventions that Make a Difference for At-Risk Students

with Kristy Balbuena, Amy Dunlap, Alexandra Schumann

About This Course

Students in Northern Virginia Community College’s Pathway to the Baccalaureate Program receive targeted interventions throughout their senior year in high school through community college and continuing at the university level. Through holistic and intrustive advising, Pathway’s underserved student population outperforms the general College as well as national community college benchmarks. The session will focus on twelve touchpoints students experience from January senior year of high school through to second semester of college, along with strategies for replicating these touchpoints at other institutions.


Pathway to the Baccalaureate (Pathway), a collaborative effort of Northern Virginia Community College, George Mason University, and nine K-12 school districts in Northern Virginia and DC that supports students who meet one or more Department of Education risk factors for college completion, utilizes a developmental advising model administered through a one-stop, case management approach. Pathway students receive academic, career, transition, financial aid, and crisis counseling from high school to community college to university. We will provide a brief overview of the Program development and discuss the specific Pathway activities that take place between January senior year of high school through to the start of the second semester of college.  These activities include:

•    One-on-one relationship-building with a developing focus in career and goal-setting
•    Placement testing in the high schools
•    FAFSA completion and verification
•    New students utilizing priority registration for Fall
•    Parent Information Sessions
•    Kick-off to College
•    New Student Orientation
•    College Success Course in cohort format
•    Peer Mentors
•    Summer Bridge Programs
•    Mid-Semester Progress Reports
•    Required, early academic advising

We will also explore our case management system, the definition of holistic advising for at-risk students, success data, and techniques for replicating specific interventions.

Learning Outcomes:

Implement concrete, data-driven programming and activities that enhance college transition, retention, and completion as demonstrated by Pathway’s effectiveness as compared with national and instutional data on similar populations.
Understand strengths and challenges of development, implementation, scaling, and evaluation of intervention activities.
Obtain specific practices for replicating program’s high-impact high-impact interventions.
Develop own institutional timeline for benchmark activities ranging from pre-college, first to second-semester college retention, and through to degree completion.

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