Advising shows growth in graduation rates

Alyssa Elso/ Contributing Writer

Students are starting to take advantage of the resources that are available to them and it shows in graduation rates.

From summer semester 2011 to summer semester 2012, the University’s graduation rate has increased from 41.6 percent to 47.4 percent.

The Graduation Success Initiative, a program which helps students stay in school and graduate, has improved the graduation rate since its creation in early 2012. This improvement comes as a result of the new advisement tools available to students.

The tools include MyMajorMatch, which matches a student’s interests with FIU majors to give them the opportunity to explore possible career paths; Major Maps, a guide that is divided by semester and contains courses required for students to take; and My_eAdvisor, which provides advisors and students with immediate feedback on their academic progress.

Freshmen and transfer students enrolled in summer or fall 2012 semesters are the first students to take advantage of the new advisement tools.

To figure out what methods will best increase graduation rates, the Office of Retention & Graduation Success began by looking at the fall 2005 cohort, a group of students who enroll at the university at the same time, and tracked them throughout 6 years to the summer of 2011, where the graduation rate was 41.6 percent.

Once advisors had contacted and met with seniors who were approaching graduation they followed the fall 2006 cohort through the summer of 2012 where the graduation rate had risen to 47.4 percent in one year.

“We surveyed students and they thought it was useful,” said Consuelo Boronat, director of the Office of Retention & Graduation Success. “If we can help students figure out what majors they like early there is less struggling, and they take the right classes for their interests.”

Advisers have also reported to the Office of Retention & Graduation Success that they have received more student visits and increased communication through My_eAdvisor.

In improving the graduation rate among current seniors, advisors are contacting students who have reached 110 credits or more and are between their fourth and sixth year to guide them on the track to graduation.

“Retention Repository is a list of students who are on track to graduate that we send out to advisors and deans. From this list, advisors contact students to fix any problems that have delayed them from graduation,” said Boronat.

According to Boronat, preliminary data has shown that 94 percent of students who enrolled in the past summer and fall 2012 semesters registered for spring 2013 semester, and 82 percent of students who enrolled in fall 2011 returned the following year. This year’s information is still not available, but Boronat believes it will be above 82 percent.

“I think it is remarkable that doing something as simple as keeping a track on students can improve the number of students that graduate,” said Boronat. “Some students who were already eligible to graduate didn’t even know it and their advisor helped them fill out an application for graduation.”