Increasing Student Retention in Forest Park Community College

Building Youth Resilience

This randomized experiment tests whether a brief social belonging intervention will increase retention rates at a community college. Preliminary research showed positive results of increased retention and grade-point average.

A sample of 200 first-year freshmen entering Forest Park Community College are assigned to either a treatment or control group. Treatment group students receive a 30-minute social belonging intervention consisting of a 13-minute video, “You are college material – You belong,” and a short discussion. Students in the control group receive the school’s standard 30 minute educational session on social services within the college.

Institutional data track whether students enroll in the following semester, and followup interviews  provide reasons for enrollment decisions. Findings from the study suggest that interventions on social-belonging can help to improve academic retention outcomes for minority students. Read the research article

Funding Partner: Shanti Khinduka Research Fellowship for Social Innovation

Principal Investigator

David A. Patterson Silver Wolf

David A. Patterson Silver Wolf

CSD Faculty Director; Washington University in St. Louis
Native Families and Communities,
Race, Inequality, and Social Mobility


Lissa Johnson

Lissa Johnson

CSD Associate Director; Director of Administration and Research;
Co-Director Financial Capability and Asset Building