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ERIC Number: ED524216
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Aug
Pages: 20
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Sense of Direction: The Importance of Helping Community College Students Select and Enter a Program of Study
Moore, Colleen; Shulock, Nancy
Institute for Higher Education Leadership & Policy
The California Community Colleges (CCC) are committed to increasing the rate at which entering students persist to completion of a certificate or degree or transfer to a university. Recent research suggests that efforts to increase student success in community colleges need to focus on helping new students choose and enter a program of study. Too many students accumulate credits in disparate areas that don't add up to a coherent academic program. Entering a program of study also helps students connect to the college in ways that promote completion. This report examines the progress of an entering cohort of CCC students into and through programs of study to completion of a certificate, associate degree, or transfer to a university. The results point to three main conclusions: (1) Entering a program of study (defined as completing 9 college-level credits in one programmatic area) is a critical milestone on the path to completing a college certificate or degree that only half of all entering CCC students reach; (2) The earlier students enter a program, the more likely they are to complete a certificate, degree or transfer; and (3) Analyzing students' course-taking patterns provides reliable information for determining their intended programs, but better data are needed for effective student guidance and program review. The CCC's efforts to increase completion will be more successful if the access mission of the colleges is re-conceived as providing access to "well-structured programs" rather than to a collection of courses that may not add up to a coherent program of study. Specific steps the colleges could take to increase the numbers of students who successfully enter programs of study in their first year are presented in this report. (Contains 10 figures, 5 tables and 10 endnotes.)
Institute for Higher Education Leadership & Policy. 6000 J Street, Tahoe Hall 3063, Sacramento, CA 95819. Tel: 916-278-3888; Fax: 916-278-3907; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Authoring Institution: California State University, Sacramento. Institute for Higher Education Leadership & Policy
Identifiers - Location: California