Student Quotes

SENSE Benchmarks: Early Connectionsstudent

Here's what students have to say about Early Connections...

"When we come here to register for the first time, we want people to treat us like we have a face, not just a body."

"The people that work here are real friendly. They don't make you feel like you're taking up their time if you ask a question."

"All the employees here have smiled. I think everybody wants us to be here, they want us to do our best and move on to our next endeavor...everybody wants us to go somewhere after this."

"They're like car salesmen here, you know like you go to a car lot, they come to you, ask you what would you like...that's how it is here. All you gotta do is look like you need to ask a question, put that blank look on your face, they're gonna come to you."

"Coming into the college...I didn't know what to expect. And just seeing somebody with a friendly face, they're not all uptight or trying to just get to the next person, they're more hands-on with you and they can help you out more, so that was actually a better thing, having someone really nice to help you out. Someone that's not nice, you're gonna get bummed out and don't want to be there."

"They open their arms, they take you in but then there are so many students, it's hard. When you're going through the counselors and stuff like that, they get on a level with you but it's just for that moment. It's not afterwards."

"At the financial aid booth, they kind of give you an overview of it, but they don't, for the most part, sit down with you on a one-on-one basis and go over everything you need for it. They don't tell you what you're giving them [or] why you're doing it."

"I didn't just pick up a form. She helped me, she walked me through a plan for financial aid and I got approved."

"It's nice to be able to walk in [to the advising office] and they...call you by name, ask, 'How are you?' or, 'Is there something wrong?' It was just nice to be able to go in and so many people knew you."

"I've already talked to three different counselors, so it was always re-finding out who you are, what your file looks like and it was never...more personal. That was kind of the inconvenience of it all."

"I haven't been back to the counselors. I really don't want to go back unless I really truly need something answered. When I first came to register I was told different things by five different counselors."

"The financial aid office gave me a paper. They were like, 'Just follow these steps and you'll get financial aid.' I want somebody that can sit down with me and actually go step-by-step 'cause I have no idea what to do."

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What are Early Connections?

When students describe their early college experiences, they typically reflect on occasions when they felt discouraged or thought about dropping out. Their reasons for persisting almost always include one common element: a strong, early connection to someone at the college.

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Center for Community College Student Engagement
—a Research and Service Initiative—
Program in Higher Education Leadership | Department of Educational Leadership and Policy  | College of Education
The University of Texas at Austin
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