Mount Holyoke College - Achievements and Promising Practices
Mount Holyoke College Evaluation Overview
Location: South Hadley, MA
Student Body: 2,100 undergraduate and 0 graduate students
Name of Program: Pathways Program
History of institutional work with community college transfer students:
Since 1980, Mt. Holyoke College has served nontraditional students through the Frances Perkins Program, most of whom transfer from community colleges (in 2007-08, 84% of Frances Perkins undergraduates had attended a community college prior to entering Mt. Holyoke).
Community College Partners:
Mt. Holyoke’s primary partner is Holyoke Community College (HCC). The College is also increasing the number of annual recruitment visits to community colleges from 20 (primarily in the Northeast) to more than 40 colleges nationwide.
Admissions and Frances Perkins representatives are conducting annual visits to more than 40 community colleges nationwide, including 10-15 institutions outside of the Northeast that admissions recruiters had not previously visited.
Mt. Holyoke created a new brochure outlining community college transfer opportunities and policies.
Mt. Holyoke is increasing its outreach to women veterans through partnerships with community colleges that have existing programs for veterans.
A new full-time transfer liaison and Pathways Program coordinator at Holyoke Community College (who is an HCC and Mt. Holyoke alumna) identifies and encourages eligible students.
Mt. Holyoke developed a non-credit Math Transitions Seminar (MTS) for HCC students to help prepare them for the academic transition to a selective liberal arts college.
Mt. Holyoke helped to establish Learning Community courses at HCC—a collaborative effort between Mt. Holyoke and HCC faculty.
The Frances Perkins program offers peer mentoring to prospective transfer students.
The College hosts an overnight transfer open house for potential community college applicants (with travel subsidies for students with financial need).
Application & Financial Aid Support:
The Pathways Program coordinator advises HCC students on admissions and financial aid applications and timelines.
Peer mentors provide consultation to transfer applicants regarding the application process.
The Frances Perkins program provides orientation, academic advising, programming, and formal and informal peer support to admitted transfer students.
Students receiving financial aid are assigned individual financial aid advisors.
The College ensures that all majors and all departments are open to community college transfer students.
Mt. Holyoke College supports Frances Perkins program and has received alumnae, foundation, and corporate scholarship funds for community college transfers.
Holyoke Community College is receiving a grant to support administering the Engaging Latino Communities in Education program, which includes the Pathways Program.
Mt. Holyoke math faculty are trying to work with HCC math faculty to better align math curricula.
Achievements through Year 2:
During year one, Mt. Holyoke received 156 community college transfer applications (up from 107 in previous year); admitted 83, of whom 44 were low- to moderate-income; 36 of these enrolled in fall 2007). During year two, Mt. Holyoke received 178 community college transfer applications.
Mt. Holyoke College’s Transfer Coordinator visited 39 community colleges nationwide during year one and 45 during year two.
The College paid the travel expenses for 11 community college transfer applicants to attend the February 2007 overnight open house, nine of whom applied and were accepted. For February 2008, the College funded travel for 18 applicants; eleven of these applied, and eight of the eleven were admitted.
Mt. Holyoke offered the Math Transition Seminar to 15 HCC students in 2006-07 and 22 in 2007-08. The five-week, non-credit MTS allows HCC students to get to know the MHC campus, work with MHC faculty and students, and improve quantitative reasoning and computer skills.
The College offered two interdisciplinary Pathways Learning Community courses (for credit) at HCC in 2007-08, which incorporated quantitative reasoning, writing, critical thinking, and discussion to prepare students for upper-level coursework at selective four-year institutions.
Trained, paid peer mentors have supported HCC students enrolled in the MTS, assisted open house participants, and helped in other ways with outreach and supporting all transfer students.
The College has increased outreach to women veterans. The Veterans’ Assistant at HCC, a Mt. Holyoke/HCC alumna, meets with students regarding their academic plans.
Having a full-time transfer coordinator at HCC to serve as a transfer agent and develop relationships with community college students, faculty, and staff from Mt. Holyoke improves the sustainability of the relationship and eases the application process and transition for students.
The full-time transfer coordinator located at Mt. Holyoke serves as a transfer agent and ensures continuity of support for students once they have transferred to the College.
Mt. Holyoke reaches out to community college faculty who have written recommendations for previous successful applicants to propose visiting their community college and developing a transfer relationship.
The Pathways Learning Community Courses and Math Transition Seminar serve both to help prepare community college students for the transition to the liberal arts college and to build and institutionalize an authentic relationship between Mt. Holyoke and Holyoke Community College.
Mt. Holyoke and the Frances Perkins program foster the development of a cohort of students who can support each other before and after transfer (e.g., monthly lunches with peer mentors for HCC students, open houses, Frances Perkins activities, Frances Perkins housing and study space).
Center for Youth and Communities
Heller School for Social Policy and Management Cathy Burack, EdD, Principal Investigator Susan Lanspery, PhD