Student Success Courses for Sustained Impact

Karp, Melinda Jane Mechur; Stacey, Georgia West

Student success courses serve as extended college orientations for entering students. These courses— also known as College 101 or Introduction to College courses—typically impart college know how by providing information about campus policies and services, assistance with academic and career planning, and instruction in study habits and personal skills. They are based on the premise that nonacademic skills and behaviors are as germane to college success as academic preparation. The structure and focus of student success courses vary widely. Some are one-credit courses, and some are worth three credits. Sometimes success courses are combined with an academic course. Some focus primarily on college readiness skills, such as note taking, and others take a more holistic approach and include topics such as personal wellness. The courses are generally taught by adjuncts and support services staff. According to a 2009 survey of more than 1,000 two- and four-year institutions, 87 percent of participating colleges offered a first-year student success course. A more recent survey of 288 community colleges found that 83 percent offered such a course.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Community College Research Center
Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
February 13, 2014


This is part three of CCRC’s nonacademic student supports practitioner packet. Access parts one and two of the packet in Academic Commons: What We Know About Nonacademic Student Supports (part one) at and Designing a System for Strategic Advising at