Student Involvement = Student Success

Welcome parents. We’re excited to have your student attending Florida International University.  FIU is a family environment where students, parents, faculty, and staff work together toward student success.  FIU is a friendly and accommodating environment where students are encouraged to learn, grow, and develop into local, national, and international leaders.

The focus of this article is to partner with you to strategize how to increase the likelihood of success for our students.  Unfortunately, only about 50% of college students make it through to graduation within six years.  There are many factors that work into this attrition rate.  Many factors can’t be easily controlled, such as access to financial support and academic preparation. However, there is one major factor linked to student persistence and success that is completely within the control of your student – involvement.   Involvement does not have to be overly complicated or time consuming.  Students who become involved in the campus are those who join clubs/organizations, a fraternity or sorority, honor societies, sports teams, etc.

A myriad of studies spanning the last 25 years have consistently reported the same important benefits that are associated with involvement.  Students who are involved in college outside of the classroom in general receive better grades, are more satisfied with their overall college experience, are more successful in their academic program, are more likely to stay in college, and are more marketable when job searching and/or applying to graduate school.

The reason involvement plays such a key role in student success is actually very easy to understand.  Like anywhere else in life, students feel much more motivated to succeed if they feel they belong and they matter.  Unfortunately many students don’t have the time (or create the time) to do anything except come to class.  These students often report feeling isolated and not very tied to the University.  Students who are involved, on the other hand, report a far stronger commitment to the University because they feel they are part of the life of the institutional culture.  These students are highly motivated to persist and be successful along with their peers.  Being involved also helps create personal relationships with faculty, staff, and fellow students.  Again, these relationships help reinforce the student’s feeling of being part of something and being valued which in turn increased motivation for success.

Of course, just getting involved does not guarantee student success.  Students have to prioritize academics and also be careful not to get over involved to the point where they don’t have time to finish their studies or take care of their own health.  However, if you are looking for ways to greatly enhance the chances your student will be successful in college, please encourage them to get involved.  Our office and many others are there to help our students find appropriate ways to get involved and become invested in their own success. Congratulations again on being a proud parent of a Golden Panther and welcome to the FIU family.

Dr. Eric E. Arneson
Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs
Florida International University

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