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Guided Pathways to Success


Guided Pathways to Success is an initiative of Complete College America to ensure that students receive guidance to complete degree programs efficiently, without taking excessive courses that will not count toward degrees. Overall, the goal is to increase guidance to students by providing clear degree roadmaps and intrusive advising to keep them on the path to a degree. Guided Pathways to Success moves away from offering students a "menu" of options that can lead to excessive credit accrual and no clear path to a degree.

Recognizing that students without declared majors are at particular risk for taking courses that will not count toward degree completion, Complete College America encourages institutions to develop "meta-majors" for first-semester or first-year students that will direct students to take courses that will count toward any major within a broad grouping. Complete College America encourages institutions to develop strategies for undecided students to sample majors and careers as part of meta-major programs.

Guiding students to degree completion requires supplementing human resources, such as advisors, with electronic tools that track student progress and guide them to take appropriate courses, in some cases by actively blocking inappropriate course selection. Programs already in use in USG institutions, such as Banner and Degree Works, supplemented by predictive analytics, can alert advisors when students veer off track, allowing advisors to intervene quickly and get students back on track to graduation.

Strategies for GPS include:

  • Constrain course taking via:
    • Default scheduling (students cannot take courses not on their program map).
    • Block scheduling.
  • Provide meta-major coursework (that will work for all majors or for groups of majors) for students who have not decided on majors.
  • Provide major/career sampling opportunities for students who are undecided on their majors.
  • Use Degree Works and Banner to:
    • Supplement advisors.
    • Constrain course enrollment to courses on the program maps for students.
  • Use predictive analytics to:
    • Provide students with information about the likelihood of success in particular courses or majors.
    • Determine when students veer off track for degree completion.
    • Alert advisors when intrusive advising/ interventions with students are necessary.