Eyes on the prize: finish

Part one of a two part series

The academic path for students can be very challenging. Between registration and graduation, a number of obstacles can get in the way that can keep students from accomplishing their dreams.

Finish the Race is a campaign created by the Richland degree audit team designed to help students graduate on time.

Mark Ammann, associate dean of admissions said, “Finish the race came to be a response to a major problem that we’ve identified amongst students. This is a two-year institution and students are not completing [in] two years, it’s typically three, four five years.”

To address the situation, the team assembled a number of resources to make it easier for students to overcome those barriers from registration through to the graduation finish line.

The program is structured in five steps: “On Your Marks,” “Ready Set Go,” “Staying on Track,” “Take the Lead” and “Finishing the Race.”

The first two steps include documentation needed for the registration, the tools to submit when applying and general advising to help students select their classes. Ammann said Step 3 (“Staying on Track”) is an important turning point.

“We go back to the reason students don’t complete within two years. Why is that? It’s not that students are lazy or they don’t want to do it. They do! But when you start the school, sometimes life has a way to smacking you in the face. All of the sudden you have health care issues, work issues, financial issues … “

There are a number of situations that can direct students’ attention away from their studies.

Richland offers multiple services to help students stay on track to meet their goal. They include counselling services, disability services, the Multicultural Center, veteran services and even a clothes closet.

“For males who need jobs, MAP [the Male Achievement Program] has clothing they can give to the student. Ties and shirts and even a jacket they can wear to the interview,” Ammann said.

Step 4, “Take the Lead” helps students stay motivated by getting involved in student life.

One of the best ways is to join a club. Richland has more than 35 student organizations including the Student Government Association, the Intercultural Woman Society and Pride at Richland. Students should choose the group they fit best in.

Whether students start the race to make their parents proud or to dream up an invention that will help people or their country, Ammann encourages students to keep those reasons in mind and finish the race.

Watch the full interview with Ammann online at www.richlandstudentmedia.com