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High Impact Practices (HIPs)

College Success Seminar

Students are required to take a College Success Seminar as a graduation requirement in most academic programs at Bristol Community College. The most common version of this is CSS 101 College Success Seminar which is a one credit course. Some programs have developed their own seminar, such as ART 101, COM 101, EDU 101, and CRJ 111. All of these are designed specifically to help new students transition into college. If you are a faculty member and would like to develop a seminar for your program, please contact Tim Hathaway, Academic Coordinator,

The research on first year seminars emphasizes four of the eight elements of High-Impact Practice pedagogy: - Substantive interaction with faculty and peers - Students engage across differences - Students receive rich feedback - Students have structured opportunities to reflect and integrate learning It’s also helpful to integrate non-academic support mechanisms. Four themes emerge in the literature on community college student success (Karp, 2016). All of these can be addressed in the context of a college success seminar:

1. Building relationships – Students are likely to acquire a sense of belonging, reduce imposter syndrome, and increase self-efficacy as they build friendships with peers and learn to work well with faculty and staff. Seminar faculty would do well to intentionally foster relationships with and among students.

2. Clarifying goals and enhancing commitment – Students who have no clear goal easily lose motivation. Setting an academic and career goal may take a long time, but once these are established, students are more likely to have greater commitment to completing. Creating an academic and career plan is a critical learning outcome in CSS 101.

3. Developing college know-how – Those of us familiar with higher education can take many things for granted. New students are easily overwhelmed not knowing what a syllabus is, the role of an advisor, or the different types of financial aid. The seminar can address this.

4. Making college life feasible – Over 50% of students in the Massachusetts public higher education system experience food insecurity, housing insecurity, or homelessness (Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, n.d.).

Students may also not have reliable technology or Internet access. The seminar can be designed to identify needs and connect students with resources. For examples of College Success Seminar assignments and how to integrate non-academic support, please contact Tim Hathaway, Academic Coordinator,



Karp, M.M. (2016). A holistic conception of nonacademic support: How four mechanisms combine to encourage positive student

outcomes in the community college. New Directions for Community Colleges, 175(3), 9-17. DOI10.1002/cc.20208

Kinzie, J., & McCormick, A. (2020). Our research: Projects, publications, and more: Assessing quality and equity in high-

impact practices. Indiana University School of Education.


Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. (n.d.) Student basic needs security at Massachusetts Public Colleges &