Walking alone on the academic path without any guidance is not an easy task. That’s why TRiO, a Richland student support service organization, is available to guide students towards educational success and future careers.
Started at Richland as SOAR in 1993, TRiO provides its members with support services to help them successfully achieve their academic and professional goals. Services include academic advisement, tutoring, assistance in financial aid application, scholarships, university field trips, college transfer assistance, college success workshops, career exploration and cultural enrichment opportunities.
Anita Jones, TRiO director, said, “I think one of the benefits is that we try to give them [the students] is a sense of ownership, so that they can ask the questions that they need, so that when they go to the two-year college they’re not intimidated. They know where to go at Richland and they know other resources.”
The most important thing that TRiO offers is connection with each student.
“We are a family. Our advisers always give our students time,” Jones said. “Before we provide tutoring advising, we say ‘How is your day?’ ‘What is going on?’ We’re involved.”
“They are not only there to help you succeed in education, they’re actually there as well, not just any sort of counselors, but they can listen to you when you feel stressed, overwhelmed or whatever. Not everybody has that time, but with TRiO you get that benefit,” TRiO member Victorine Arkoma said.
Although members of TRiO come from many different backgrounds, they all see TRiO as a place to stop by when they struggle with academic problems. Eden Kassa, has been a member of TRiO since 2014. She had a hard time with developmental math last semester.
“I’ve noticed that TRiO has helped me a lot academically with my classes, financial aid with the grant aid and motivating me to do better in school,” said Kassa. “It [TRiO] is also helping me to maintain a good routine to study if I have an exam or homework and helping me with time management as well because I am really bad at it.”
To join TRiO and receive benefits, students must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Students must be enrolled at Richland College [or another community college] and meet one [or more] of these criteria: Be a first generation college student, meet federal income guidelines, be physically challenged or learning disabled.
Over 90 percent of TRiO members graduate successfully each year. The COE handbook states that “More than 1,200 colleges, universities and agencies across the country offer TRiO programs today.”
Application forms can be found online under TRiO student support services on the Richland College website. Students can also get them at the TRiO office, Room C225B from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.