Chapman gives students personal coaches
Over the last three years, many freshmen at Chapman University (Calif.) have been getting more than just academic advising. They have been given coaches--not counselors or therapists--but personal coaches who meet with them on campus once a week to help them achieve their academic and personal goals. These coaches are contracted by InsideTrack, a student coaching firm that was founded in 1999. The purpose of the coaching program is "to provide the student with constant feedback and support. Most critically, they are also provided with additional motivation," says Saskia Knight, vice president and dean of enrollment at Chapman. She adds, "even the best students (as measured by GPA) are not necessarily all intrinsically motivated. A coach who can provide positive feedback, support and clear objectives makes the student more successful."
While students are not required to meet with their coach, she says very few students opt out. Students may talk about anything, including roommates, deadlines, homework, financial aid, problem resolution, and so on. "They also have a thematic approach which highlights various themes each week like Health or Finances," she says.
To test the success of InsideTrack's services, the university conducted a pilot study with two groups of similar students, one of which received InsideTrack coaching. The other group did not receive any coaching. At the end of the term, the school found that the InsideTrack group had better retention rates, higher GPAs, fewer failed classes, withdrew less, and made it to the provost's list more frequently.
While it's not a traditional method of college counseling, "The (InsideTrack) concept made sense because personalized education is a hallmark of Chapman University," Knight says.