When you really get down to it, we need to prepare students for success in college before they even set foot on campus. We can do a lot to help them once they're here, but if we work smart beforehand, we can get them off to a strong start.
For example, we need to choose the right environment for students to thrive in and then maximize that time. This could mean homeschooling, charter school, or boarding school. Then, they need to try to take advantage of Advanced Placement (AP) courses to get college credit and also look into summer college programs that will help them to also get credit but more importantly understand what is going to be expected of them once they arrive on campus. Any of these ideas can be cost prohibitive, so try to find the most affordable options or see about scholarships to help defray the cost. Especially with AP courses, the upfront cost of textbooks and exams is still far less than the cost of multiple credits of tuition and a full semester of your time while at college.
Once they're proper college students, we need to work to give them the highest level of support they need. The common buzz phrase, "meeting students where they're at", is about far more than figuring out if your office should get a Snapchat account. It means adapting your campus and services to the students' needs. This could take the shape of student success coaches, peer mentor guidance, financial assistance, emergency funds, or in the case of Paul Quinn College, dramatically reshape your entire campus life.
There is never going to be a one size fits all approach to college success and student services. It all depends on the students you have and what they need. These are some generally applicable tips however, and I hope you find them useful.
There are a lot of choices one needs to make when it comes to their own schooling, much less our own children, or students we work with. We can make the most of the time that is given to us to prepare, then do what we must to ensure that all students have equal access to the resources they need to be successful.