PUSH College helps new college students transition successfully into college and persist to graduation. Freedom House staff coach students to develop strong academic behaviors and self-advocacy skills. Freedom House uses an innovative “embedded” model by partnering with UMASS-Boston and Bunker Hill Community College. Through this partnership, PUSH College coaches have offices at the schools in order to offer an intentional, student-focused approach to college support.
The goal of PUSH College is to double the college graduation rate of PUSH students within a 3-6 year time frame by providing intensive wraparound services for PUSH students. The PUSH College program serves students from Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan, as well as students from other Boston neighborhoods including South Boston, Jamaica Plain, Roslindale and Hyde Park.
PUSH College coaches monitor students in order to gauge how well a student is transitioning to college. Coaches respond to red flags such as poor attendance and academic alert statuses to provide individualized counseling around course management, withdrawal/pass deadlines, and registration deadlines. Coaches then connect students to available resources, particularly if they are not meeting academic benchmarks.
PUSH coaches are in regular contact with students through phone calls, e-mails or face-to-face interactions in order to help students overcome any potential obstacles to their education. Students participate in peer meetings and financial aid workshops to ensure timely financial aid applications. PUSH coaches also help students troubleshoot various barriers to college success such as: transportation, housing or family issues.
PUSH College collects anecdotal information on non-academic factors: academic self-confidence, achievement motivation, institutional commitment and engagement with social/emotional support services. The number of times a student accesses college resources is tracked to measure the extent to which a student feels engaged in the college environment and is moving towards self-sufficiency and advocacy.
PUSH College also tracks student involvement in social activities at their schools to determine student engagement in college life. Hard data, particularly in the areas of enrollment and academic achievement, are also collected. Persistence rates on student re-enrollment by semester and academic year are tracked and used as indicators of academic quality and student success.
My definition of success is achieving your dreams, plain and simple. When you work hard, failed but got back up to what you wanted and got there, that is success. Having a coach has been a benefit to me because my coach has kept me organized with what I need to do for school. Graduating from college would mean the world to me.
The PUSH Program not only helped me apply for college but also assisted me with books, connected me with resources, and guided me through my first year of college as an incoming freshman, but the help didn’t stop there. There were resources right on campus that I wouldn’t have utilized if it was not for the program’s assistance, including advising, tutoring, career centers, and student support centers.
I would recommend PUSH because they were a big help for me. They always looked out for my academics, and if I needed the help they would be able to refer me to it. My definition of SUCCESS is completing college and having a well-paid job, which would come from the education I acquired from college.