GradSnapp in Action: Goddard Riverside Options Center

We are proud to partner with practitioners supporting students to college graduation. In this blog series, you will hear from our partner organizations about their programs, best practices, and GradSnapp tips and tricks, along with inspiring work helping students reach college graduation.

Lissette Caravantes
Success Counselor
Goddard Riverside Options Center

Tell us about the Goddard Riverside Options Center.

Goddard Riverside Options Center supports New Yorkers with getting into, paying for, and graduating from college, as well as supporting students with career advising. Our mission has always been to increase the number of underrepresented young adults who gain access to college and earn a quality postsecondary degree. Since 1985, we have supported over 8,000 young people along the college journey.

How does GradSnapp fit into your model of student support?

GradSnapp helps me keep informed about students’ degree progress, financial aid and situational standing, from data visualizations to tracking tools that help connect the dots. The platform also allows me to send bulk emails and texts, and it makes a note of that outreach at the same time – this alone relieves some of the extra steps from my workload!

Being able to see the students’ updates and progress visually paints a picture for me. As a counselor, I keep in mind that grades and finances are a part of a bigger picture for students. Seeing this information in the context of student surveys allows me to ask deeper questions that also factor into their performance. I’ve found that using the watch list and interventions allows me to hold myself accountable, making sure my students receive adequate support and information on time.

Can you tell us about a time or give us a specific example of when GradSnapp helped you better advise a student to success?

I recently worked with a student completing a survey on his final college plans. After it was submitted, GradSnapp provided an alert for us to take a closer look at his financial standing. Seeing gaps in his financial aid, we were able to plan ahead and have realistic conversations about applying for scholarships, explaining the process to his parents, and learning more about the implications of being a part-time student – so that financial barriers wouldn’t get in the way of his progress to a degree.

What are your favorite tips and tricks that you would like to share with others supporting students to college success?

Part of supporting students to college success is also working with them to realize the importance of their mental health. I have found that simply taking a few minutes out of my counseling session with students and asking them about their day, having conversations that are not about college or studying, allows me to learn more about them and where they stand. I’ve implemented several mindfulness practices during my sessions ranging from conversational questions (Do You Remember and Stress Less Cards) to breathing exercises and reflecting on their actions. Taking the Mental Health First USA course has been a powerful and useful tool that allows me to have these conversations with my students.

While counselors and advisors often push and advocate for compassion and mindful advising to the population we serve, I also want us to keep providing that same care for ourselves as counselors and advisors to avoid burning out, and to continue serving our incredible students!

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