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Sam Houston State Guides Students with Academic Coach

Students at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX are using a customized student assessment application, SHSU Academic Coach from Profiles International's Educational Service Division, to help them choose the most suitable degree program and gain exposure to careers that are best suited to their talents, strengths, and interests. The assessment tool, which asks a series of questions, identifies students' strengths and areas for improvement as they prepare for graduation.

Sam Houston State selected Academic Coach to provide coaching and mentoring tools for students and advisors participating in university orientations, advising sessions, and student success initiatives. The assessment profile shows how efficiently a student assimilates and uses various forms of information.

"As this group of students approaches graduation, we predict a shorter time to degree, lower debt, and a student prepared for the highly skilled, competitive marketplace," said Heather Crowson, vice president of enrollment management. "Our one-year student retention rate for the Fall 2007-2008 cohort has increased significantly from Fall 2006-2007. As with any new student tool, we will continue to assess its impact on future retention rates."

Students can use the results of the Academic Coach assessment to help them choose majors and investigate careers in their chosen fields. "As this tool is used in its full capacity with other retention efforts, our goal is to see graduation rates improve," said Crowson. "We also believe that there will be a decrease in student debt upon graduation and an increase in student engagement in new occupations that match their thinking styles, behavioral traits, and occupational interests."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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