The first year of college can be scary and overwhelming.
That’s why Tennessee Tech has created the Launchpad Student Success Center, a program aimed at supporting students as they transition to college life. The idea for the program came after a Tech faculty committee noticed there were inconsistencies in the advisement of first-year students. Director Simone McKelvey said the goal is to make advisement more cohesive to better support students and grow Tech’s retention rate.
“Students definitely need more support. They need to feel very quickly that they connect very quickly that they belong because if they don’t, then it’s very unlikely they’ll have a successful experience. But also, it’s likely that they will not persist and they will not stay,” said McKelvey.
Tech’s retention rate for first-year students last year finished at 77.5 percent. McKelvey said she hopes Launchpad can increase that percentage.
Launchpad focuses on first-year student advising, transition, career-readiness and success. One big change first-year students can anticipate is pre-enrollment for their first semester of classes. Students can make adjustments if they need to at summer orientation, but McKelvey said she hopes it removes one of the many sources of stress for incoming students.
McKelvey said that she wants to make sure students are getting support and advise for their entire time at Tech, not just in their first year.
“The students are the main thing. If we approach every decision that we make and keep that in the forefront of our minds, that the students are the reason that we’re doing everything that we’re doing, then we’re going to be fine,” said McKelvey.
After the past year, McKelvey said she’s noticed an increase in students needing support and reaching out for help. She wants parents and students to know that the faculty is ready to support them, and hopes that Launchpad is a place for them to find that support.