Reach for success with TRIO-KEYS

By Annaa Lopez

For many students, going to school and having a full-time job is not easy. For some it takes a little extra help. That's why we have programs like KEYS, a federally funded TRIO-grant program that gives opportunities to students to achieve their postsecondary degree. The program's main objective is to increase the college retention, graduation and transfer rates of low-income, disabled and first-generation students.

The KEYS Program serves about 240 students each year and is always accepting applications for those who meet at least one of their selection criteria and who have a drive for success.

Every fall semester at AWC, the KEYS GPS program -- short for Guided Pathways to Success -- selects approximately 24 first-year students who have already taken the placement tests and scored into either MAT 121 or ENG 100. Students who are in the GPS program are required to go to a study session or attend tutoring for their English and Math classes. They have an Academic Skills Coach who helps them review their lecture and homework every week.

Students who are not eligible for the GPS Program also have the option of doing an individual tutoring session. Tutoring is available for math and writing from Monday-Thursday, depending on the tutor's schedules. Students who choose to do so are required to make an appointment at the KEYS front desk. Students also must meet with an advisor in order to be paired with a tutor.

For those students who need some advising, the KEYS program has three full-time advisors who are available Monday-Thursday during office hours. The advisor is available to listen and counsel them with any academic-related topics such as graduating on time, transferring to a university or even personal matters. There is a computer lab known as the Achieve Learning Center (ES 114) that is also available to KEYS students. Students can use the computer to do research on the Internet, type their essays and check out other online resources.

The main goal for the KEYS program is to help students graduate from AWC and transfer to a university or to a vocational program. They try to work closely with the students to develop a strategy to meet their needs and support them through their academic journey. Once a student is accepted into the KEYS Program, they do not need to reapply. They are a part of the program until they graduate and/or transfer.

Anyone who would like to learn more about the KEYS Program will find that the staff members are always happy to help and listen. Their offices are located in the 3C building across from the AWC Financial Aid Office. The phone number for the KEYS front desk is (928) 344-7761.

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