Taking the lead and finishing the race

This is part two of a two-part-series.

Finish the Race is a program designed to help Richland students complete their degrees on time with minimal waste of time and money. The initiative helps students focus on completion instead of just taking classes of interest.

“Historically, we’ve had students who have come to us, and take classes on more or less a ‘cafeteria plan,’” said Mark Ammann, associate dean of admissions at Richland. “If you don’t have any guidance of where you’re going, you [might] show up and go, ‘Well, I want a plate full of fries, with a side order of fries—and more fries with that.’ So you may not be taking courses that are germane to your degree plan.”

To counter this unintentional, but oft-committed error, Finish the Race offers students a five-step program designed to help them stay on track and cross the finish line.

Kyle Chainey, right, talks with Vinhty Dinh and Jacqueline Smith in the admissions office at Thunderduck Hall on Jan. 18.

Kyle Chainey, right, talks with Vinhty Dinh and Jacqueline Smith in the admissions office at Thunderduck Hall on Jan. 18.

In Part 1 of this series, Gloria Agbogla outlined Step 1, On Your Marks; Step 2, Ready, Set, GO; and Step 3, Staying on Track. These steps cover applications, planning, advising and campus resources available to students in specific areas such as counseling, free DART transportation, the Male Achievement Program (MAP) and the Women’s Initiative Network (WIN).

Step 4, Take the Lead, encourages students to participate in campus life and give back to fellow students. It’s an important part of the educational process that gives students a sense of community and purpose by encouraging them to stay at Richland and finish their degree.

For example, students can build self-confidence, create friendships and foster school spirit through athletics and intramural sports. Athletics also teach values and skills like teamwork, enterprise and initiative which, when balanced with academics, easily transfer to the workplace.

By participating in life on campus, students can make meaningful connections and meet peers who will spur them to greater heights. Success can also be attained by joining programs like the Honors Program, the Richland Chapter of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the Alpha Alpha Xi chapter of Phi Theta Kappa. These programs offer members access to many established and well-funded scholarships which can ease financial strain and allow students to focus on academics.

Step 5, Finishing the Race, essentially guides students through the steps required to graduate and find a job. Students are eligible for services such as the Symplicity job bank and America’s Job Exchange which, according to its website, “provides the resources to help Americans succeed in their job search.” Students also have access to different money management services such as CrashCourse Financial Help and Texas Reality Check.

Links to the services mentioned in this article are available in one central location online at www.richlandcollege.edu/finishtherace.