Persistence Pays Off

CSNBy Christopher Kilkenny

Persistence is an important attribute for students to have as they pursue their college education.

The quality that allows someone to continue doing something even though it is difficult is the definition of persistence.

As this applies to college, “Persistence is ensuring that student who enrolled in the fall also do so the following spring and also from year to year,” said Charlene S. Gibson, communication instructor at College of Southern Nevada who is a team leader for the Achieving the Dream initiative, which is a national effort to increase student success. “Completion means students are successfully completely courses with a C or better.”

One of the aspects of Achieving the Dream is to identify ways to help students face academic obstacles successfully in order to earn good grades and graduate on time. Persistence and completion are two big issues that were identified in the ATD studies. They are currently being tackled.

One major change was the new matriculation process that CSN implemented for incoming Clark County School District high-school graduates. They are now required to attend an orientation, take placement tests and receive advisement prior to starting school, which sets them off on more successful paths.


Additionally many other resources have increased to help students. One-on-one tutoring is offered for difficult subjects like math and writing. Online tutoring through Smart Thinking can provide assistance around the clock. Workshops are available for topics such as procrastination and time management through StudentLingo. Counseling and Psychological Services provides support for students with personal struggles. In all, there are many resources at CSN to help students succeed and persist.

Those resources have made a difference. According to Josh Martin, co-leader of ATD and CSN math professor, students’ achievement ratings have increased during the past couple years. From 2014 to 2015, there was a 3 percent increase in students enrolling from term to term thereby showing persistence. There was also a 2 percent increase in completion of courses with grades of C or better.

CSN student Dorian Mixson utilizes some of the resources to improve his school work. He found help at the writing lab for his papers. His professor recommended it and he took the suggestion. He went many times.

Karen Ortega uses Smart Thinking, an online tutoring option, for help with editing her papers. She works full-time so online services are valuable to her.

“If a student is doing poorly or concerned about their grades, they can take advantage of many college resources at no additional charge,” said Amy Palmer, CSN counselor.

“Our goal is to help students stay enrolled in college and guide them through a successful timely completion,” Palmer added.

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