Academic Coaching for Post Secondary Students

Outcomes from a Pilot Group of Postsecondary STEM Students with Disabilities

Abstract: Faced with poor retention and graduation rates for students with disabilities, postsecondary institutions have experimented with interventions to help students succeed in college. This practice brief describes a pilot initiative in which 41 students with disabilities pursuing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees at three postsecondary institutions engaged in weekly academic coaching sessions primarily aimed at improving students’ executive functioning.

Data collected through an online survey of participants at the end of the initiative suggests that the academic coaching services increased their self-confidence, motivation, and determination to succeed. Participants reported that they gained skills in time management, studying, note taking, organization, prioritization, writing, self-advocacy, and stress management as a result of the academic coaching. Although literature regarding academic coaching and students with disabilities has often focused on students with LD or ADHD, results of the pilot initiative suggest that students with a variety of disabilities can benefit from coaching relationships.

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