Do Living and Learning Programs Work?

It’s a question that comes up a lot around bigger universities who are considering or currently have Living and Learning Programs (LLPs) — do they really work? Some mention the increased rate of retention freshman to sophomore year is the purpose behind such programs.  Others will tell you it’s simple for new students to build friendships with common-minded individuals.  No matter what you have heard, you must define a clear goal and mission for your LLP.

Every university has different ways of handling such programs, but these 3 questions must be asked before a full evaluation of the LLPs:

  1. Are you focused on equity and access in your LLPs?  How so?
  2. Would the students in the LLP most likely be retained without the program?
  3. What benefit are students getting in the LLP that other students are not?

Be different in your programming and ensure that the students are not becoming overwhelmed with mandatory events, along with everything else they have going on.

5 Ways to Get Ahead This Fall Semester

Since reshaping my job at the University of Kentucky College of Education to a specific focus on retention, I have been able to interact and build great relationships with students.  It’s interesting that all it takes is a 2-minute hallway conversation to develop a friendship.

As students begin to excitedly anticipate the beginning of another school year, the academic side of life must remain at the forefront of each individual.  A bad start to the semester (especially for freshmen) can lead to a downward spiral quickly.  Here are 5 ways to ensure that you are getting ahead this Fall:

  1. Find a mentor – Find someone who has been there before to help advise you through the hard times.  If you’re new or have never had a mentor, ask a professor or staff member around campus that you are drawn to.
  2. Know your syllabus – Keep this in the front of every notebook, reference it often, and mark any changes the professor makes.  Some have even taken a picture on their phone so that it is always there.
  3. Have fun – Volunteer or get involved in a student group.  The more involvement, the happier you will be.
  4. Learn to take notes – Whether it’s a personal style or someone teaching you their ways, taking notes is an important piece of success.
  5. Work hard – Go a little beyond what is required.  Playing catch-up later results in lower grades, less sleep, and more stress.

So there it is.  Work on these 5 strategies and your Fall semester will get off on the right foot.

What other tips do you have?