Students Looking for Affirmation

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Career College News

By Andrea Spisak

In mid-April, I had the opportunity to participate in The Pacific Institute’s 6th Annual Best Practices and Great Ideas Conference in Indianapolis, IN. The conference, hosted by Indiana Business College, was a premier event on the best practices and great ideas in the career college and school sector. The event brought together over 50 different campuses that represented over 50,000 career college students. The conference is designed to have schools share presentations about successful concepts and programs used at their campuses. These programs help schools achieve higher retention and enrollment rates and operate with a more effective spirit of teamwork in their staff and faculty.

The speakers who presented at this year’s conference generously shared their insights, opinions and best practices with conference participants. These topics of the best practices ranged from how to improve a school’s customer service approach to students, start rate, retention rate, etc. One notable practice was based on the concept of using facial expressions to show that each student matters. The idea behind this best practice was that every student is watching to see if you, as a representative of your school, are really listening to them because they are a worthwhile individual with important personal goals. Many students are looking for personal affirmation. For instance, a genuine smile from a faculty member or administrator might be the only one students will see all day, and it just might be enough to keep them coming back to school the next day.

The conference was based around schools that participate in The Pacific Institute’s innovative program Thought Patterns for a Successful Career. This program is designed specifically to enhance student retention, as well as give students the tools to succeed in school and life. The Thought Patterns program emphasizes the “soft” skills most desired by employers. Students’ successful assimilation of The Pacific Institute’s curriculum is reflected in many ways: They stay in school, attend and succeed in their classes, succeed in their jobs, and most importantly, succeed in life.

This year the conference had a panel of six career college students come and talk about their participation in the Thought Patterns program and how it has changed their lives for the better. These students shared very moving stories about their everyday lives. The people in the audience listened to the students who, as single parents, worked 40 to 50 hours a week to support their families, taking care of their elderly parents and their own children. Often these students didn’t have any time to take care of themselves properly and lacked the confidence needed to achieve a better life.

Each of these students participated in the Thought Patterns program, which was an introductory course they were required to take. They spoke about the impact this course had on their lives, how it had given them a way to deal with the problems in their lives, and how it had promoted their self-confidence and determination to achieve their goals because they really did deserve a better life.

For more information on this conference or The Pacific Institute, please contact Dr. Joe Pace at 954.926.5668 or at