LRSC ranked nationally for its completion rates

Helping students reach their educational goals is what Lake Region State College in Devils Lake does best. Now, the college is being recognized for it.

Lake Region State College was ranked #20 in a report of 762 two-year colleges published by the Chronicle of Higher Education in its 2018 Almanac of Higher Education.

Institutions were ranked according to the number of first time, full-time students who entered in a cohort that started the fall of 2013 and completed either a degree or certificate within a three-year time period.

According to the 2018 Almanac Report, the average completion rate for two-year colleges nationwide is 23 percent. LRSC boasts double that with 47 percent of students completing their program with a degree or certificate within three years of enrollment.

As an institution that gives the utmost care and dedication to retention, LRSC gives attention to identifying students who may have difficulty attaining their completion goals and developing a plan to achieve those goals, says LRSC President Dr. Doug Darling.

“We have an extremely active retention committee that links faculty and staff together to manage retention. From initial recruiting and advising, all the way to graduation, we work together to make the process as smooth as possible for students.”

The retention committee looks at the entire student experience and brainstorms ways to come alongside students to help them complete their programs of study.

“It is a combined effort of every department that ensures student success,” says Dr. Cathleen Ruch, director for the TRiO and Powerskills programs. “It takes a campus effort to graduate one student- and that is what LRSC does, works together and collaborates, to assist with student success.”

Programs such as TRiO and Powerskills also contribute greatly to student success.

TRiO/Powerskills works with students to assist with academic success; such as tutoring, academic advising, and transferring to a four-year institution, says Ruch.

“These services enhance success, providing opportunities to reach their career and transferring goals.”

In addition, advising students involves going through every step to make sure students are contacted, aware of requirements, and taking the right classes for his or her program of study.

Therefore, LRSC also provides a network of behind-the-scenes support for those who are face to face with students each day. Brandi Nelson, Director of Academic Affairs, is one of those behind the scenes resources.

Nelson gathers, analyzes, and applies data to campus life.

“My role is to give faculty and staff info they need to help students to succeed,” she says, “Or, to identify what isn’t working and fix it.”

Several key factors come to mind for Nelson when she thinks about student success.

“We’ve expanded our orientation to a two-day process where students begin lasting relationships and focus on team building skills,” she says, “Advising is critical, and we require all students to take a first year experience class that helps with retention.”

Predictive analytic reporting helps Nelson and other faculty members identify those students who may be more likely to encounter challenges.

This collaborative, detailed effort at LRSC is attracting national attention as it continues to succeed in helping students succeed.