Friday, November 8, 2013

The Student Success Initiative

Submitted by Michael Murphy, Interim Assistant Director of Academic Advisement

President Barack Obama challenged America’s colleges and universities to increase the number of students completing degrees and other credentials that they can put to work. In response to the president’s completion agenda the Maricopa County Community College District and Rio Salado College have taken steps to better prepare students from the outset of their college careers.

The Student Success Initiative, or SSI, includes five success strategies designed to positively impact student retention, persistence and degree completion. Launched fall 2013, these steps are now required of all students who are new to college and seeking a degree or planning to transfer to a university.

These student success activities include:
  • Placement testing to determine the student's preparedness level for English, Mathematics and Critical Reading classes. These tests can be taken free of charge at any Rio Salado testing center and must be completed before registering for classes. 
  • Preparatory classes as a pre-requisite when indicated by placement testing results. Students who do not test into 100-level courses are required to take preparatory classes before registering for 100-level courses. 
  • College success courses are strongly encouraged for students who test into English, Math or Reading classes below the 100 level. These classes focus on orientation to college, personal growth, and study skills development as well as educational and career planning.
  • Academic advisement is strongly encouraged. Students who meet with an advisor will discuss their academic and career goals and plan their course load.
  • New Student Orientation (NSO101) Rio Salado's FREE, non-credit online orientation class introduces students to the RioLearn online learning environment and provides information about college programs and policies. It also offers guidance on financial planning and college success. 
“The purpose of the Student Success Initiative is to help every Rio Salado student be successful in their classes, but also to help them with the larger goal of completing their education,” says David Hall, Director of Academic Advisement at Rio Salado College.

To learn more about these success activities, and how to pursue them, visit This portal for new students offers a step-by-step guide to the process of enrolling, choosing a program, testing, payment and more.