The Need

Nationally, an astonishing 51% of college students fail to graduate within six years. (1). Moreover, 4 out of 5 low-income college students fail to attain a bachelors degree by their mid-20s (2). A study commissioned by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation found that, “A student who makes the connection between obtaining a college degree and his or her career goals is a full six times as likely to attain a degree as one who doesn’t.” Aside from academic preparation, the study calls this factor the single largest impact on an individual student’s likelihood of completing college (3). Today’s students face ever-increasing tuition costs and uncertain post-graduation employment prospects. By connecting with professionals who provide advice regarding how a college major will lead to a successful career, students can begin to understand the value [or benefit] of earning a college degree.

This fact is reinforced by a U.S. Department of Education study, which found that students who received mentoring from advisors regularly during their freshmen year had 170% greater chance of completing their bachelor’s degree than those that did not (1). In addition, a recent Stanford study states, “[Mentoring activities including] coaching also proved a more cost-effective method of achieving retention and completion gains when compared to previously studied interventions such as increased financial aid (4).” Working with advisors and mentors demonstrates that receiving mentoring can lead to significant increases in retention and graduation.
Here are some additional facts:

  • National and state budget cuts to education funding in recent years have increased the need for college-career guidance. The national advisor to college student ratio is a dismal 1:285 (5).
  • According to a recent study, “Traditional college counseling programs are unable to provide support for all students (6).”
  • Business mentorships have shown to positively impact students’ career success. A 2007 study of recent M.B.A. graduates showed that students who do not have mentors earn far less pay and have less career success than their peers who have mentors. Those without mentors made on average $24,000 a year less than their peers, and received far fewer promotions (7).

1 U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2009). BPS: 2009 Beginning Postsecondary Students. Washington, DC.
2 Mortenson, T., Stocker, C., Brunt, N. Postsecondary Education Opportunity. (2010). Family Income and Educational Attainment 1970 to 2009. Oskaloosa, IA.
3 Bedsworth, W., Colby, S., Doctor, J. (2006). Reclaiming the American Dream. San Francisco, CA: The Bridgespan Group.
4 Bettinger, E. & Baker, R. (2011). The Effects of Student Coaching in College: An Evaluation of a Randomized Experiment in Student Mentoring. Stanford, CA: Stanford University School of Education.
5 ACT. (2004). The Status of Academic Advising: Findings from the ACT Sixth National Survey. Iowa City, IA.
6 Gallagher, R. (2010). National Survey of Counseling Center Directors. American College Counseling Association.
7 Martorana, P. (2007). Austin, TX: University of Texas at Austin.