According to a recent Institutional Research & Planning (IR&P) study, students who completed Counseling 100: Orientation to College successfully returned to De Anza one year after entrance at a substantially higher rate than students who did not take the course or did not complete it successfully.
“While the study results do not take into account student ability or other factors that might be related to persistence, it does suggest an important association,” said IR&P Researcher Andrew LaManque. “It may be that students who take Counseling 100 are more motivated and informed than other students.”
Counseling 100 is a ½-unit course that is strongly recommended for new students. The course introduces students to information important for planning their educational careers, such as General Education requirements and grading policies.
“While the course has several objectives, it is thought that students who make connections to other students and college personnel early in their collegiate career, and who develop a better understanding about college life, will ultimately have a better chance of meeting their goals,” LaManque said. “The purpose of this research was to begin to shed light on whether Counseling 100 has a positive effect on student persistence.”
Declining Counseling 100 Enrollment
During the most recent summer, more than 2,200 students enrolled in Counseling 100. As indicated in Figure 1, however, summer enrollment has been on the decline for the past six years. More than 3,100 students enrolled in 1996. This is a significant decline because more than 70 percent of Counseling 100 enrollments occur during the summer term.
The decline in summer enrollment may be associated with students’ ability to apply/register online, which began in the late 1990s. Prior to this time, a Records Office staff member would personally encourage each new student to register for Counseling 100. The declines in course enrollments depicted in Figure 1 can be seen as even more dramatic when viewed against the increase in overall college enrollment over the same period.
About 50 percent of new students in the summer term enroll in Counseling 100. New students make up about 80-90 percent of summer Counseling 100 enrollments. About 25 percent of all summer quarter students will enroll full time in the next term (fall), and more than 85 percent of these students (new students in summer returning to enroll full time in the fall) have taken Counseling 100 in the summer term.
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LaManque examined enrollment records for the period 1996-2001. Only students indicating a goal of “transfer,” “degree” or “undecided” were included, because these are the students targeted by Counseling 100. Students were broken into two groups:
- Students starting in summer or fall, with a goal of “transfer,” “degree” or “undecided,” who had completed Counseling 100 successfully at some point during their first year of attendance at De Anza College.
- Students starting in summer or fall, with a goal of “transfer,” “degree” or “undecided,” who did not enroll in or complete Counseling 100 successfully during their first year.
While 81 percent of students starting in the summer (and enrolling in the following fall) and indicating a goal of “transfer,” “degree” or “undecided,” completed Counseling 100 successfully (i.e., with a grade of C or better) at some point during the first year, the figure for students starting in the fall was only 16 percent.
More research will be needed to determine why this difference in Counseling 100 enrollment exists. Overall, the cohorts included in the study are nearly evenly split between those students who took Counseling 100 and those who did not.
Summary of Results
Figure 2 compares enrollment in the fall term one year after initial enrollment for students successfully completing Counseling 100 compared to those who did not take the course or did not successfully complete it.
As depicted, students taking Counseling 100 were found to enroll one year later at a 69 percent rate compared to a 29 percent rate for students who did not take the course.