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Nicolet College - Nicolet’s Academic Success program sets the foundation for students to succeed

Nicolet College’s Academic Success program
sets the foundation for students to succeed


Posted Jan. 12, 2011

Imagine finding yourself unemployed.

Now what do you do?

Some start the search for a new job. Many others enroll in college to improve their skills to get an even better job than what they had before.

But now say you haven’t stepped foot in a classroom in years and what you learned in high school is only a faint memory. The question arises: Are you really ready for the rigors of college classes?

Academic SuccessThat’s the situation Nicolet student Katlyn Setzer found herself in recently.

“I knew deep inside I wanted to go to college but just the thought of it made me really, really nervous,” said Setzer, who graduated from Northland Pines High School in 2004. “I didn’t know if I was up for it, if I would be able to handle college classes after being out of high school for so long. But the one thing I did know is that I wanted to better my life.”

Enter the Nicolet College Academic Success program.

Setzer pushed forward with her dream and during the enrollment process at Nicolet she was referred to the college’s Academic Success program. There, she worked with instructors to brush up on her reading, writing and math skills to get her ready for college classes that start in January.

“That helped so much,” Setzer stressed. “All of my instructors and everyone at Nicolet were really great to work with. They were all very helpful and helped me get where I wanted to be.”

Setzer’s story is not uncommon. In fact, far from it, according to Andrea Aus, interim director of the Academic Success program at Nicolet. Last year alone the program helped nearly 300 students brush up on forgotten academic skills to get them college-ready once classes start.

“Many students coming to Nicolet have been out of high school or even college for any number of years,” Aus explained. “It’s understandable that people forget things over that period of time. What we do in Academic Success courses is get them back up to speed.”

As helpful as college prep classes are, they are just one component of many that fall under the broad umbrella of Academic Success, Aus went on to explain.

“People are surprised when they learn about all the different programs and services we have to help people become successful,” she said. “Last year we served more than 1,100 students in total and almost a third of all students taking regular college classes at Nicolet have used our services at some point.”

One of the best parts of this for students is that all these services are offered for free, or at a very minimal cost of $4, Aus added.

Another major component of the Academic Success program is helping students earn their GED or HSED. Last year 234 students earned a GED or HSED through Nicolet, making it the third largest high school graduating class in the Nicolet district.

The college offers these GED and HSED classes, along with many other services, on the Rhinelander Campus and at nine outreach centers located throughout the Nicolet District. Locations include Carter, Crandon, Eagle River, the Forest County Potawatomi Community, Lac du Flambeau, Minocqua, Mole Lake, Tomahawk, and at the Curran Building in downtown Rhinelander.

“Because many of our students have limited income, this creates transportation problems,” Aus said. “By offering these classes and services in outlying areas – bringing the classes closer to where they live – we’re removing the transportation barrier that would otherwise prevent them from getting the education they want and need.”

Other Academic Success programs include:

- Teaching classes for inmates in the Oneida, Vilas, and Forest county jails and at the state McNaughton Correctional Center. Last year 169 incarcerated individuals enrolled in Nicolet Academic Success classes held at these facilities.

- College academic support services that provide a broad array of tutoring services to assist students in specific academic areas and in the use of various computer technologies.

- The ADVANCE program where at-risk high school students take classes on the Nicolet campus to meet the graduation requirements of their high schools.

- English language classes for students who need to become fluent in English.

“So much of our work goes on in the background of the regular college classes that Nicolet offers,” Aus said. “Most people don’t realize the breadth of different services we offer and how much students benefit. But we see the results every day when students walk out our door and into a college classroom.”