Learning How to Tailor Programmatic Offerings to Support Low-income, First-generation, and Racially Minoritized Student Success

Kezar et al. / Journal of Postsecondary Student Success / August 2021

This study focused on the process of how the staff at the Thompson Scholars Learning Community (TSLC), a comprehensive college transition program, tailored the programmatic offerings to meet the needs of low-income, first generation and racialized minority students. Because college students are complex individuals, each of whom faces a unique set of challenges and opportunities, it is reasonable to hypothesize that tailoring support services to the multiple needs of each student may make them more effective. The research identifies a four-part iterative and cyclical process to tailor the programmatic offerings for students – beginning with the individual student and then using information about individual needs to scale to broader group level tailoring. This broadening or scaling process is a new contribution to the literature that has not previously been identified. The tailored approach the authors identified works at both individual and group levels, which makes it viable as an intervention for large numbers of students. The effort to attend to and learn about individual students ensures that the intervention still meets the needs of individuals, but the testing of these interventions more broadly allows for understanding how these approaches will work for diverse group level tailoring.