Here are some of the commonly asked questions aha! Process receives regarding College Achievement Alliance. If you don’t see your question/answer here or still need more information, please call us at (800) 424-9484, or send in your question by clicking here.
College Achievement Alliance General FAQs
What is College Achievement Alliance?
- College Achievement Alliance is a family of solutions for higher education to help faculty and staff improve retention and completion rates of first-generation and under-resourced college students.
- Through College Achievement Alliance, faculty and staff develop an understanding of under-resourced students, acquire strategies to help them succeed, and learn a systemic approach to identifying and removing impediments to their success in the classroom, on campus, and in the community.
Besides retention and completion, what are other benefits of College Achievement Alliance?
- Enhances effectiveness and job satisfaction of faculty and staff
- Fosters appreciation of economic diversity
- Expands service learning initiatives
- Builds community partnerships to support students
How is College Achievement Alliance different from other solutions for first-year college students?
- College Achievement Alliance is the only family of solutions to apply the lens of economic class to help faculty and staff understand their first-generation and low-income students.
- Faculty and staff learn why under-resourced students make some of the decisions they make and exhibit behaviors at odds with the middle-class college environment.
- They also learn how to help under-resourced students navigate the hidden rules of college and the workplace while demonstrating respect for the strengths and values students bring with them from under-resourced backgrounds.
How does my institution get started with College Achievement Alliance?
For faculty and staff:
Professional development: It’s important to get faculty, administrators, and staff on the same page with respect to economic class.
Each of us has individual mental models of poverty, middle class, and wealth—and why people from different classes behave differently—that are usually based on limited knowledge about any class but our own.
Broadening perspectives and developing a shared understanding about the societal experience of class will prepare you and your colleagues for further discussions about how to help under-resourced students succeed on your campus.
A structured study of the book Understanding and Engaging Under-Resourced College Students, and/or the one-day workshop of the same name, delivered on your campus, are ideal ways to lay the groundwork.
Moving from professional development to action: College Achievement Alliance is a systemic approach to preparing students for civic engagement, creating engaging learning environments, and providing long-term support for achievement.
Specific tools useful in redesigning programs based on what you’ve learned about economic class help your team craft or realign services that support students without lowering expectations.
For maximum impact, pair the strategies and initiatives you and your staff develop with the Investigations into Economic Class in America curriculum for students. You can learn more about building an alliance for student success with the one-day workshop, delivered on your campus, titled College Retention and Engagement—A Systems Approach.
Sustaining and expanding: To sustain College Achievement Alliance initiatives and expand awareness on campus, have one or more faculty/staff members trained as College Achievement Alliance certified trainers. Certified trainers are trained and authorized to present College Achievement Alliance workshops on your campus and have the knowledge to lead or coordinate College Achievement Alliance initiatives.
Investigations into Economic Class in America: This is a curriculum specifically designed for under-resourced students.
It is not a soft-skill or study-skill approach, although these skills develop as a result. Rather, it is a transformational educational experience that broadens students’ perspective about economic class—their own and that of others—and equips them with the tools they need to hold onto, and build upon, the motivation that brought them to your college in the first place.
What are some of the features of College Achievement Alliance training and published materials?
- Causes of poverty: research areas and strategies
- Hidden rules of socioeconomic class and their impact on student success
- Mental models for helping students create new future stories
- Mediation and cognitive strategies to improve student learning
- Hands-on tactics for teaching, advising, and motivating
- A systems approach to student success and civic engagement
- Strategic Doing—a fast, efficient, results-oriented model for systemic change
What about preparing high school students for college?
College Achievement Alliance includes a number of resources appropriate for high school and middle school professionals preparing cohorts of first-generation students for college. These include:
- Ready for College, Ready for Careers workshop
- The Investigations into Economic Class in America curriculum, appropriate for juniors and seniors in high school
- The R Rules, another resource that prepares students for the middle-class world of college and work, appropriate for middle school and younger high school students
CAA Trainer Certification FAQs
How can I be trained to present the workshops based on the book Understanding and Engaging Under-Resourced College Students in my institution?
- We offer trainer certification in the workshops Understanding and Engaging Under-Resourced College Students and College Retention and Engagement: A Systems Approach twice a year at a national location. Please check out our events page for our training options. With sufficient demand, we can also provide private trainer certification at your institution.
What is the difference between the two-year certification and lifetime certification?
- The two-year certification expires December 31 of the second year after your original certification (e.g., if you certify in June 2013, your certification expires in December 2015). You will need to recertify online in order to keep your certification current.
- The lifetime certification does not have an expiration date. You are not required to recertify in order to continue training. You will be offered the opportunity to attend one online recertification per calendar year at no cost.
I have attended the Understanding and Engaging Under-Resourced College Students workshop (or equivalent workshop) to fulfill the prerequisite for trainer certification, but I do not have a certificate to verify my attendance.
- You will not be required to show proof of attendance at the prerequisite workshop. The trainer certification workshop is designed with the understanding that all participants have already been trained in Understanding and Engaging Under-Resourced College Students (or equivalent workshop). We find that participants who have not completed the prerequisite do not get the full benefit of the trainer certification workshop.
Booking a Workshop FAQs
How can I schedule an aha! Process consultant to present a workshop at my organization or in my community?
- Please call one of our professional development account representatives at (800) 424-9484. Choose menu option 4.
- Complete this online request, and one of our account representatives will contact you within one business day.
Do your consultants do only full-day workshops?
- No, we can adapt our trainings to meet your specific needs, including timeframes. Our standard workshop day is 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. with an hour and a half for lunch and two 15-minute breaks. We can also provide shorter sessions (e.g., keynote, breakout, 1–2 hour overview, and half-day workshops).
Do you have any consultants in my area?
- Please check out our consultant bios here, or call our professional development account representatives at (800) 424-9484 and choose menu option 4.
Are we required to purchase books for our workshop?
- Most of our workshops do not require a book purchase, but some do require participants to have a specific book or workbook to receive the full benefit of the training. Other workshops may recommend optional books and/or workbooks to increase the understanding of workshop participants.
How many participants can we have in our workshop?
- For most of our workshops, you can have as many participants as you can seat comfortably in the meeting room. We have a few trainings that have a maximum number of participants due to the hands-on nature of the training. Please check out our workshop page for the workshop you are interested in to find out if there is a limit on the number of participants who may attend.
Which workshop should I start with?
- We recommend that colleges and universities start with Understanding and Engaging Under-Resourced College Students. It includes the foundational constructs that all of our workshops are based upon. This is also a prerequisite for the public events, College Achievement Alliance Trainer Certification, and Investigations into Economic Class in America Facilitator Training.
- If you are booking the workshop for a middle or high school program that helps under-resourced students prepare for college, you can start instead with Ready for College, Ready for Careers. This also will serve as a prerequisite for other workshops and public events.
Are there prerequisites for the workshops?
- A few of our workshops do have prerequisite requirements. Please check out our workshops page for the workshop you are interested in to find out if there is a prerequisite.
Order Information FAQs
I am tax exempt, but the online store is charging me tax.
- Please fax your tax exemption form to (281) 426-8705, or email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and your tax will be refunded the next business day. If you prefer to place the order on the phone, please call our office at (800) 424-9484 and choose menu option 3.
I need to return a book that I ordered from you. What do I need to do?
- Please call our office at (800) 424-9484 and choose menu option 6.