Dallas College’s approach to advising its students might be paying dividends in the way it reportedly guides students in their pursuit of higher education.
Instituted three years ago, the institution’s “Success Coaching” program pairs students with college employees tasked with helping them navigate some of the bureaucratic hurdles connected with securing a bachelor’s degree, as well as develop more fundamental planning skills necessary for success at school and in the job market.
Students like Daisy Donjuan, a 25-year-old first-generation college student, have claimed to benefit directly from Dallas College’s coaching system. After a five-year hiatus from school, Donjuan navigated the complex world of higher education with assistance from her success coach. The guidance helped her create a clear academic plan, focusing on relevant coursework for her career transition into the paralegal field.
“It felt good, the fact that someone is actually checking up on you and that they’re keeping up with you,” Donjuan told The Dallas Morning News. “They actually care about us succeeding.”
The coaching program at Dallas College could prove particularly valuable for non-traditional students. The college’s fall 2022 survey revealed that approximately half of its students are first-generation collegegoers, 22% are adult learners juggling full-time work, and over 20% are parents. In such instances, the success coaches not only assist with academic and financial aid advice but also anticipate and address personal barriers to education, according to DMN.
As previously reported by The Dallas Express, first-generation college students have long struggled in North Texas, often having to balance personal responsibilities with the vagaries of pursuing a college education.
In an interview with DMN last May, first-generation Dallas College student Briana Morales described her undergraduate career as “traumatic,” noting that she had to simultaneously work multiple jobs while taking classes. However, she persevered and managed to transfer to Southern Methodist University after securing a scholarship, graduating with a degree in psychology, and opting to pursue a master’s degree.
“Doing all the stuff that I never imagined I could do, let alone getting into grad school, sometimes it’s hard to reconcile where I came from and what I have today,” Morales told DMN.