By Gunnar Counselman, CEO of Fidelis Education, Featured in the November issue of eCampus News
“Analysts in higher education are overcomplicating retention and graduation problems. I’m going to keep it super simple, so simple in fact that there’s an acronym mnemonic device to help remember it — The 3 Ps of Success™ .
For many, college graduation is a challenging goal, and like any challenging goal, people are more likely to accomplish it when they have the 3 Ps 1) a clear purpose to motivate hard work 2) a support network of people and 3) a credible pathway (including the degree) to prepare to accomplish that purpose.
If students are failing, you simply have to analyze why in context of the “3 Ps”.
Purpose. How many of your students really know what their degree plan means for them and which ones don’t know? Of those that claim to know…do they really or do they just have a good story? If you, the educator, don’t know what they’re going for and why it matters to them…how will you help them? Why should they trust that the hard work will pay off if it’s not connected to any motivating purpose?
People. Which of your students have a strong personal support network of mentors from home, school, or work? Which have positive peer relationships and have a real sense of belonging at your institution? Which have professional guides and strong relationships with their faculty advisors? If you don’t know, you have no hope of helping them fill in the gaps and reach higher.
Path. Which of your students feel like they’re on track to reach their goals? Do they truly believe that if they graduate, their chances will be better? Do they see themselves as masters of their own destiny, shaping their path? How many do, how many don’t, and which are which?
This obviously seems like common sense.
But schools don’t have access to any reliable insights into which students have the 3 Ps and which do not. And if you don’t know, how can you possibly help? Like they said at the end of Every GI Joe Cartoon from my youth “Knowing is half the battle.” And the other half is taking action to get your students what they need to be successful.”