Dougherty Family College’s Success in Higher Education Featured in Star Tribune
Dougherty Family College

The Dougherty Family College (DFC) at the University of St. Thomas is prioritizing the success and well-being of its students through its Summer Enrichment Program. The program aims to help students thrive in college, not just survive. It provides lessons on college navigation, including topics such as time management, study habits, and dealing with emergencies.

Many of the incoming college students at DFC were freshmen or sophomores in high school during the COVID-19 pandemic, which disrupted their education and social interactions. As a result, colleges like DFC are implementing programs to support these students as they transition to college life.

DFC offers a two-year program that allows students to earn an associate degree and prepares them for a smooth transition to a four-year college to pursue a bachelor’s degree. The majority of DFC students are people of color, and many are the first in their families to attend college. Recognizing the significance of the first college experience, DFC has made adjustments to its orientation program over the years to better meet students’ needs.

The program includes sessions that address the specific challenges and concerns of first-generation college students, providing guidance on scholarships, study strategies, and defining success. The goal is to empower students to believe in their ability to succeed in college and encourage them to seek help when needed.

Dean Buffy Smith emphasizes the importance of thriving in college, and the program’s focus is on helping students develop the skills and mindset necessary to excel in their academic and personal journeys.

DFC’s approach reflects a broader trend in higher education, where institutions are increasingly prioritizing holistic support for students, especially those facing unique challenges and circumstances, to ensure their success and well-being throughout their college experience.

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