The Ichabod Success Institute: Dream to Achieve

Abbie Barth

The transition from high school to college is never a simple one. Now, imagine being a first generation student that knows nothing about college and never imagined themselves attending. These are the type of students that the Washburn Success Institute is trying to help.

The Success Institute is a unique program created here at Washburn to encourage high school students who were not on the path to college to attend and achieve successes along the way. The program offers more than just some free college credit: they also provide the opportunity for the students to realize their full potential. Their key principle is to teach their students how to achieve their own version of success and inspire the rest of the campus to do the same.

“90 plus percent of them are still enrolled in University…the retention rate for the rest of Washburn is half of that. Just that number is a success.” Steve Hageman, Student Success Lecturer.

The students who join the institute every year are selected from the three main USD 501 high schools. Typically, seven to eight students from each school are chosen in the fall of their senior year, and then a gradual selection process begins. The end result is a class size of approximately 20 students. These students attend a five-week course over the summer, followed by a two-year commitment to take specified classes together each semester to earn college credit and create a strong support system that they can lean on for their time here at Washburn.

“They, in some ways create their own support structures. Not a day goes by that we don’t see them… studying with each other and pushing each other.” Steve Hageman, Student Success Lecturer.

This program is an opportunity that not only helps disadvantaged students on their path towards a bachelors degree, but also impacts the community and inspires other students to forge their own path of success. Washburn wants to see their students reach their full potential and give back to the greater Topeka community.

The Ichabod Success Institute educates their students on how to reach their full potential and then gives them the space needed to do that. These students not only give back to the Washburn Community, but also to Topeka and Shawnee County, because, without them, this program simply would not exist.