140 students participate in Crowder SSS program
Seymour: ‘Program provides a connection to someone at the college’
Building a future for every student, Crowder Cassville offers a program to its students who fall into a category based on qualifications, with the main goal of getting students to graduate or transfer.
Angela Seymour, Crowder Cassville director, said Student Support Services (SSS) is a federally funded TRIO program through Crowder Cassville that is in its second 5-year cycle.
“You get the grant for five years, then you have to apply and try to get it again,” she said. “We have had this program for eight years now.”
Seymour said SSS serves 140 students, and the primary goal is to take students who statistically don’t succeed and give them the tools to succeed.
“Those are students that are first generation, which means that neither of their parents graduated from college,” she said. “They don’t have that person at home who has already gone through the process and can help them through it.”
Seymour said a certain amount of the grant has to serve those students, as well as low-income and students who may have some kind of accommodation need.
“If a student hits any two of those three qualifications, they can be part of SSS,” she said. “The big purpose of the grant is having two full-time advisors and a full-time director.”
According to Seymour, their job is to help those students through either graduation or transfer, and even both.
“Statistically, their success rate of those students is much higher than the college average,” she said. “It is even a better success rate than non-SSS students at this campus.”
Seymour said the grant requires that 140 slots are always filled, but they haven’t had a problem doing that.
“They prefer not to serve more than the 140 because of all the different things that are done with these students,” she said. “It is very aggressive. When I was in college, I saw my advisor once a semester, but the SSS students see their advisor multiple times during a semester.”
Seymour said the advisors communicate with the teachers to make sure they are doing well and what can be done if not.
“They also go out on a lot of trips for life skills and cultural exposure,” she said. “They go to plays, etiquette dinners and museums.”
According to Seymour, the students do not pay anything to be in SSS or go on the trips.
“They actually are required to go on a certain number of trips, and they get scholarship opportunities for the things they attend,” she said. “The trips are fun, but they also have incentive to attend them.”
Seymour said even if a student hits all three of the qualifications to be in SSS, the student gets to choose if he or she wants to be a part of it or not.
“SSS is completely voluntary,” she said. “The student has to apply for the program.”
Seymour said the grant does not allow them to use it for recruiting.
“We can only approach a student that has already applied at Crowder,” she said. “We have ‘Start Smart,’ which is like student orientation, where the student comes in a week before school starts for a couple of hours to get a tour and make sure that their paperwork is good.
“The SSS staff conducts that, so they get a chance to talk to students and explain what it is.”
Seymour said it is a support system for a students who are already planning a college track. SSS provides free tutoring and they also help with ACT prep.
“One of the biggest things that the students get from the program is a connection to someone at the college,” she said. “The students develop a relationship with the advisors and can come to them for so many different things.”
Seymour said that students who start in Cassville and are based in Cassville, but go to a specific program at a different Crowder campus are still eligible for SSS.