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UNLV seeking solutions to freshman academic struggles

Updated October 10, 2017 - 8:15 pm

More than 20 percent of UNLV’s full-time freshman students were put on academic probation last school year.

Many of them are not students this fall.

“Less than half of that group is still here. That’s really concerning to us,” said Dr. Anne White, director of learning support for the university’s Academic Success Center.

Additionally, 47 percent of the students whose GPA was below 2.0 failed to seek academic support, White said Tuesday during a presentation at UNLV’s third annual research week.

“Our hope today is that you’ll come away with some sense of the many, many, many ways the university, and … the College of Education, are working to address not just the problems we face today, but to identify, and create, and validate solutions for the problems we will face tomorrow,” said Dr. Kim Metcalf, dean of the College of Education.

White said if more students on probation sought tutoring, academic coaching or supplemental instruction, they would still be enrolled.

“For some of our students asking for help is a real stigma,” she said.

White said the first semester is “critical” for students to learn how to succeed in college, and to believe they belong. It’s especially critical for students who enter college with low scores in core subjects like math and English; are eligible for federal Pell grants; or are the first in the family to attend college.

Out of the 807 students who were put on academic probation last school year, White said many were both Pell-eligible and first-generation students.

“They get into a fixed mindset that they’re not college material and they don’t come back,” she said.

A new initiative through the Provost’s office helps to identify and reach out to students who have a combination of the risk factors. Other new programs are in the works, White said.

“We’re trying,” she said. “It really concerns me that they’re not helping themselves. As much as we try and tell them about the services, they don’t take advantage of them.”

Contact Natalie Bruzda at nbruzda@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3897. Follow @NatalieBruzda on Twitter.

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