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Keeping Students in School with Resiliency Training

Posted on September 9, 2011

Toni Macpherson (bio) notes that resiliency training helps with student retention.


The research indicates that resiliency makes a huge difference. As we have had really, basically, qualitative kinds of interviews with counselors and staff in the student services divisions, we've learned that the first six weeks make a huge difference in whether or not a youngster is gonna survive on campus.

Retention is extremely important for the colleges. It's also important for the student. If a student doesn't make it in that first six weeks or first semester, the tendency is greater for them to not go back than to go back. They've had a bad experience. It was uncomfortable, unhappy. Why does anybody return to something that's unhappy? So if you can help make that transition a more effective one, you can make a huge difference.

Extensive studies on college students and resiliency skill courses offered across the board for all college students have not been done. So this is really one of the first attempts to take what is, basically, a healthy population, provide them with a psychoeducational program that leads to an opportunity for them to be more successful to avoid or prevent illness or dysfunction, and we're excited about it. We believe that this is a curriculum that should be offered on every college campus.

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Excerpted from interview with contributor in May 2011.

 

More About "Benefits to Schools"

 

More From Toni Macpherson (bio)

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    What the experts say

    "Even for the brightest, best-adjusted young person the transition from high school to college is a very, very challenging one.… All young people entering college could benefit from focusing on what their strengths are and how to protect themselves in the face of the stresses that will inevitably come with the transition to college life.… The lessons that one learns in developing a kind of resilience outlook are lessons that will serve one for the rest of one's life."

    Ellen Frank, PhD
    Professor, Department of Psychiatry
    University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

    "This program provides students with a skill set that either initiates them into resilience or adds to their strengths, and resilience will help them throughout the entire course of their lives."

    Toni Macpherson, MEd
    Executive Director
    LEAD Pittsburgh

    "If resilience education were incorporated early into college life, it would benefit campuses in many ways, because they would avoid a certain amount of increased individual difficulties with students, and that's wear and tear on the entire college campus.… There is no doubt in my mind that having a set of coping and resilience skills is just as important as whether I get an A or a B in a particular course."

    David J. Kupfer, MD
    Professor, Department of Psychiatry
    University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

    "Learning to be resilient is imperative in life; I don't know how you can go through life as well without it.… I think students will take away fewer scars of failure, rejection, and anxiety because they’ll know how to do things they might not have known had they not taken a course in resilience."

    Sheila R. Fine
    Chair, Board of Directors, and Principal Founder
    LEAD Pittsburgh