For Immediate Release
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April 21, 1999
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Office of Marketing and Communications
Course For Freshmen Improves Retention Rate

Dropout rates among college freshmen are high - and many occur within the first five to six weeks of school, says Professor Robert Votaw of the Indiana University Northwest Academic Resource Center.

 “Research shows that the students (who drop out) never made any important connections, they never knew any faculty outside of class and they didn’t belong to any organizations or activities,” Votaw adds.

 With Indiana University Northwest’s Freshman Experience Seminar, the success rate for freshmen student retention increases because it gives them proactive orientation to the school, campus resources and faculty. The course also helps students gain insight on themselves and their future goals.

 “We let them discover themselves, their study skills, habits, learning differences, personality type – what they have to do to survive,” explains Votaw.

 Offered summer and fall semesters for one credit hour, the course will help the freshman student work effectively within the IU Northwest system. The course applies many learning techniques through specific class topics and reading material that are of interest to the student.

Among the opportunities freshmen receive by taking the seminar is guidance in completing an academic plan with the help of an advisor while learning how to register for classes, use e-mail and access the library. Students will also be able to better understand their strengths, weaknesses and needs by taking various student inventory assessments, as well as learn more about themselves and their study habits to help identify future goals and skills needed for academic success.

Another advantage of taking the course is that each student will be assigned a student peer mentor. Peer mentors will provide guidance and advice to further promote a successful transition to college.

 “The implementation of some form of freshmen year experience at an urban commuter campus, proves to be extremely successful,” says Votaw. “It provides a crucial key – a connection with a small group of students and caring committed faculty.”

For more information on the Freshman Year Experience Seminar or the IU Northwest Academic Resource Center, telephone 219-908-6758.

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