Personalized Mentoring to Drive Graduation Rates

College Forward is using big data analytics to develop tailored supports to ensure all students achieve their educational and career goals.

Photo of Austin Buchan
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Since 2003, College Forward has driven post-secondary success for low-income and first-generation college students. Our 13 years of experience serving thousands of students and researching and evaluating solutions has led us to the conclusion that near-peer coaching is the only solution. It's time we embrace the power of analytics matched with caring personal coaching to scale and embed this cost effective model on high school and college campuses across the country. 

In 2014, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded a very promising study of student segmentation to help higher education institutions better serve the infinitely varied students on their campuses. College Forward plans to adapt this research, make it student-centric, and take it into the field.

Using insights gleaned from our comprehensive collection of student data, College Forward will group our students into carefully delineated segments based on the challenges they face and the attitudes they have about higher education. Predictive analytics will illuminate trends in our students’ behaviors and challenges that we are unable to observe by using only traditional demographics data, and we will develop tailored supports for each segment, allowing College Forward near-peer mentors to personalize the services they provide and drive post-secondary success rates ever higher.

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Photo of Donna

Hi Austin, Thank you so much for sharing your work at College Forward to use data and identify ways to tailor support for a wide range of students. Do your observations and insights match the stories and interviews that are being posted in our Discover phase? What themes are emerging for you?