How to survive college 101


Giovanna Cano

Class in in session at HCC

Giovanna Cano, Staff


Hillsborough Community College is offering a new course for freshman students that will focus on helping them succeed in school. The class is SLS 1106 First-Year Experience, otherwise known as Start2Finish. It’s a course designed to teach the basics of what students need to know for college, what to expect, how to prepare, study skills and planning for their future. The course is financial-aid eligible and is being offered to HCC students seeking A.A. degrees who have less than 18-credit hours. Many colleges offer a similar orientation near the beginning of a student’s academic journey; however, HCC is taking it a step further. Welcome to SLS 1106, a 3-credit course that teaches students more than just how to take notes.

Essentially, people become students when they want to learn something. As simple as it seems, choosing a major does not come easy for most students. Dr. Stephen W. Lambert, director of the Quality Enhancement Plan, known as Start2Finish, says “when students develop goals, they’re much more likely to be successful.” He believes it makes “logical sense” for students to “consciously contemplate” what they are interested in because this leads to self-discovery.

Start2Finish takes a more personal approach for students who still aren’t sure about their future. Alease Hamlin, an Art major and a current SLS 1106 student at HCC, says the class is helping her “see things optimistically.” The class provides tools such as the My10YearPlan, an interactive learning platform that students use as a guide for self-exploration. The class is set up for students to have a goal-driven attitude about their future. Hamlin agrees, “when you’re a starving artist, you need all the positivity you can get.”

The course is based on best practice research from Dr. Davis Jenkins at Columbia Community College. Research shows that incoming students need at least a semester’s worth of advising in order to be successful and graduate. Start2Finish teaches students where they can go for advising, career resources, and HCC’s most useful resource, the Academic Success Centers. Students are guided on how to take advantage of these resources that are free, even if they are undecided on a major.

Students may even switch their major as a result of the class, or decide if that an A.S. degree is preferred. This is because the class is beyond ordinary; instead the subject is the students and they’re dissecting their life goals for a grade. Lambert discusses how the class lessons and projects align with the students’ vision of their futures. This can result in “the student spending meaningful time learning about themselves.” There’s an entire researched process behind how the Quality Enhancement Plan was created, but it’s most significant expectation is to improve student graduation rates. He claims the class promotes early graduation and that “there’s less of a delay. Students “are not going to be graduating in five years with a two year degree.”

Class registration for SLS 1106 will be open for Spring 2018 at participating HCC campuses.

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