To enhance college completion and ensure graduates launch into rewarding careers, students need a clearer path through education to their aspirations for life after college. One key milestone along that path is the student’s selection of a major program of study. Surveys indicate that little more than one-third of former students reported relying on advising by college counselors, faculty or staff in their selection of a major.
Through a $1 million grant to Complete College America and the Purpose First initiative, USA Funds is supporting development of new models of student advisement. Purpose First will produce a set of tools and institutional practices that encourage students to explore career aspirations and choices early in their postsecondary experience, prepare students to better navigate complex academic choices, stay on track for college completion success, and more successfully navigate to a rewarding career.
The following higher education systems in five states are participating in the demonstration project:
- New Hampshire Higher Education Commission.
- Tennessee Board of Regents.
- University of Hawaii System.
- University of Houston and Houston Community Colleges.
- State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.
Approximately 30 colleges and universities from those systems will work collaboratively to develop new student advising resources and practices that include:
- Integrating career assessment and counseling — early and continuously — into academic advising.
- Incorporating economic and non-economic college return on investment calculators into the advising process.
- Inserting real-time labor market information.
- Infusing career exploration and career development skills into the curriculum of student success courses and general education.
- Engaging employers and strengthening work-based and service-learning across programs and majors.
The new student advisement models subsequently will be promoted for broader adoption by other postsecondary institutions to help students pursue a more purposeful path, through their academic course work and career training, to connect with quality employment and rewarding careers following graduation.