GCC introduces Guided Pathways to Success

In an effort to boost program completion and graduation numbers, the Glendale Community College faculty has introduced Guided Pathways to Success. The program, which aims to improve the success rate for students, will help to navigate the often confusion journey of college completion by providing access to resources and having a hands-on approach to advising. The Guided Pathways to Success listening session was held on April 4 at 1 p.m. in MA-142. Students had the chance to voice their concerns about academic direction.  Yolanda Espinoza lead the discussion and answered students questions about the upcoming plan to support student success.
Many students take too long to complete a degree and often earn more credits than are required. Time and money are wasted when students do this and on-time graduation rates are steadily declining because of it. Only a quarter of students graduate on time, and the figure is even less for those who attend school part time.
Staying on track can be a challenge when students do not know what classes to take. Sometimes classes that students need are not available, and when students cannot commit to a class or they are forced to drop a class it slows down their academic progress. With the new plan students will be able to seamlessly transfer to state universities with the maximum amount of credits. Agreements with these universities provide students with access to lower level courses at a fraction of the price. Unnecessary classes end up costing students and tax payers in the U.S. $1.5 billion annually.
GPS, Guided Pathways to Success, encourages students to make the big decision of choosing their path of study or major and from that point the course order is arranged for them. This decision is based on students’ strengths. With GPS students will no longer aimlessly take classes. Students will be held accountable for completing their focus classes on time. The option to change majors will be available. However permission of an advisor will be needed first. When key classes are not completed within a certain time, an advisor will step in to assess a student’s progress. An intrusive approach to advising will be the key to creating achievable goals, and students who don’t make reasonable progress will be assessed and redirected.
Students who take at least fifteen credit hours per semester have a greater chance of finishing their degree on time. Courses will be available when students need them, and up to date reports on their progress will continue to be available. The structure of the new program will be instituted by 2020, but many of the resources and support systems are in place and will be available to student before then.
When milestone courses are completed, students receive approval to continue their program of study. If students can choose what courses they take, they will likely select the easy ones first, which may disrupt advancement and increases the likelihood of wasting time. GPS will work to maximize the post-graduation employment by identifying occupational demands and preparing students to step out into the workforce. The Guided Pathways to Success will have beginning to end involvement to encourage students to move through each semester with ease while completing their education.

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