The transition from high school to college can be a huge adjustment for students. In college, they’re part of an entirely new social and learning environment, and interact with new and diverse people from various backgrounds and cultures. The students most at-risk are those who have difficulty dealing with change.

Learning how to acclimate to an entirely new educational and social environment can be a difficult and stressful task. In a less structured environment with little accountability, students have to teach themselves how to study, manage their time, and socialize all over again. StudentKeys gives students the skills they need to thrive during this important transition.

  • Acclimating students to college life
  • Identifying student strengths
  • Career guidance
  • Encouraging individualized study skills
  • Improving motivation and communication
  • Increasing retention rates
  • Helping with freshman orientation

Acclimating students to college life

Students who know their own personality style and can recognize the styles of others will be better equipped to communicate and interact with new and diverse people they meet in class and dormitories. Students can also learn to reduce everyday conflicts by understanding the behavior, motivations, and expectations of the people around them. These behavioral skills will help students forge positive social relationships, and will make them better able to quickly adapt to the communication and teaching styles of their professors.

When used as a part of orientation programs or as an ice-breaking tool in residence halls, StudentKeys assessments can be an important relationship-enhancing tool. During the first months of college when students first meet, people can get to know each other more intimately by discussing their own personalities in small groups. Groups can be arranged with similar personality styles or combinations of all styles.

In addition, administrators and academic advisers who use StudentKeys assessments will be able to identify students who may be at risk. This information can be used to develop interventions targeted toward the personality, learning, thinking, and motivational styles of individual students.

Identifying student strengths

The StudentKeys program was designed to identify core strengths and aptitudes in young people. Students that understand their strengths are more motivated, self-confident, and focused, and have the tools to quickly work around learning roadblocks. Students who know how to capitalize on their talents and strengths are more motivated to achieve and more apt to continue working towards their degree as opposed to dropping out. Instructors who teach to a student’s individual learning strengths (i.e. natural learning preferences), may find that students are retaining more new information and increasing their understanding of the subject matter.

Career guidance

Advisors and career counselors at colleges are using StudentKeys assessments as a springboard for career planning. On average, people with certain personality styles gravitate to and are more fulfilled by certain occupations than others. The information revealed about a student’s unique communication and values style can help a student decide more realistically about a career path.

Encouraging individualized study skills

Starting off the academic year on the right foot is critically important in a college or university setting. Much research exists indicating that a student’s decision to leave college is closely connected with their academic success during the first year. Good grades during the first term also correlate to their probability to persist through to graduation. Other research suggests that the cognitive and behavioral habits students develop during their first year may influence their habits for their whole college experience.

StudentKeys helps students incorporate study strategies that work the best for their personality and learning style. Our assessments help identify innate learning and thinking strengths so that students can make the best use of their study time.

Improving motivation and communication

With StudentKeys, students can identify their values system and understand how ethics, ideals, principles, and deeply-held beliefs unconsciously influence many of the choices they make every day. Students who understand how they are individually motivated by values are better able to recognize their strengths and limitations in certain social, academic, and professional areas. Likewise, educators who pay attention their student’s unique values styles can target incentives to individual preferences therefore increasing motivation. StudentKeys also helps students appreciate why they do not see eye to eye with parents, peers, and professors as a result of conflicting values styles.

Increasing retention rates

Retention issues have become increasingly important in higher education since the 1980’s when college retention rates began to decline. Since then, schools have put an increasing amount of emphasis upon student retention and dropout prevention. Considering that approximately 40% of students leave higher education without getting a degree, the emphasis is well put.

More than half of all students who withdraw from college do so at the end of the freshman year. As a result, the first year continues to be a vital time in a college student’s academic experience. During the first year, it is imperative to integrate students both academically and socially. Dr. Vincent Tinto, a popular retention theorist, made academic and social integration a central theme in his retention model. After studying and distinguishing many reasons for student departure, he found that students need academic integration to feel a sense of personal fulfillment that exists independently from their grades. He also found that to increase the likelihood of retention, students need to gain a sense of social integration not only with peers, but with educators and staff as well. Through StudentKeys, students can better academically and socially integrate into the college environment, thus finding the sense of community and self that they need in order to continue through their program of study.

Helping with freshman orientation

StudentKeys assessments were originally designed to be a significant part of freshman orientation programs, used as a tool to help students with their transition to college life. These workbooks are often used during orientation week, or by advisors in residence halls to academically and socially integrate students in the first year by helping them identify their natural learning and communicating styles.

To determine their impact upon first-year student success and retention, the StudentKeys workbooks were used in an empirical study at Eastern University (formerly Eastern College) under the direction of Dr. Laurie Schreiner. The study was undertaken to measure retention and acclimation effectiveness of the Student Keys program on incoming students. This study was part of a larger project, “CCCU Quality Retention Project”, in which 79 member schools joined together in a five-year, collaborative research project focusing upon improving the quality of the educational experience so that a higher percentage of students graduate. The study found students who participated in the StudentKeys program achieved higher GPA’s in their first semester of college. Secondly, students who participated in Student Keys were also retained at a higher rate than the non-participants (71.1% vs. 65.3%).