Take CHANCE revamp further

For more than a year, NIU and the Board of Regents have been conducting surveys and trying to find a way to curb the high dropout rate of minorities in the CHANCE program.

As the program is now, CHANCE students are guided and counseled only their freshman year. The most recent attempt to mend the retention problem is to slightly expand the one-year program by almost doubling the present number of counselors to assist those students in need. After their freshman year, CHANCE students still will be “on their own,” apart from a formal program, but can return for counseling if they choose.

If NIU is truly interested in retaining the two-thirds of CHANCE students who are leaving after two years at NIU, it should expand the structured part of the program completely. By adding counselors, students do not have the mandatory counseling environment they obviously need.

If students are not graduating after attending the one-year program, it should be expanded to two complete years because counseling also would benefit students upon entering upper-level classes and declaring a major. If the university is going to locate funds to expand the program, it should reach a little further in its pockets to truly do what is best for CHANCE students.

After being set on their own after one year, CHANCE students might not be aggressive enough to seek counseling on their own.

Now, CHANCE students are prohibited from participating in greek activities, but allowed to participate in team sports. In order to encourage CHANCE students to concentrate on their studies, perhaps athletics should be crossed off the list as well. If grades are the problem and students are not able to graduate, they need to be watched and guided more closely.