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Guided Pathways and Student Support


Matching programs with goals

Students are more likely to succeed when they know exactly what they need to do to complete a certificate or degree – and when they have the right support systems in place. With a guided pathways approach, we are rethinking our academic programs and advising services to help ensure our students’ success.

Four keys to guided pathways

Align with employment and further education

Program maps with clear requirements show the pathway toward employment and further education. Students are clear on the courses that are required and when to take them.

Help students choose a path

Students benefit from first-year experiences that help give them the best start possible, and students who are unsure of their path benefit from guided exploration and mentorship.

Make sure students stay on a path

With proactive academic and career advising, students’ questions are answered, and their progress is monitored, ensuring they stay on track to complete their degree or certificate.

Ensure students are learning on their path

Gathering data on our students’ progress, enriching the learning experience, and making sure students are in the right courses for their skill level are essential to our success.
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The big picture

Without guidance, students often end up taking classes that don’t help them achieve their goals. Research shows that many college students are earning credits that don’t count toward their majors, they’re withdrawing from classes, and they’re often unable to transfer their credits. This is costly for our students and our community.

Maricopa Community Colleges is working to make sure our students understand what classes they need to take (and when) to stay on track. Colleges that utilize guided pathways typically see reduced dropout rates, higher graduation rates, increased student retention, and a decrease in students graduating with excess credits.

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About Guided Pathways

With guided pathways, we’re making sure that Maricopa’s offerings are aligned with our students’ educational and career goals. This will involve looking at our degree programs across all of our colleges and mapping out course sequences, which help limit confusion among students and help them reach their goals faster. Plus, our faculty will have opportunities to collaborate on curriculum development and to share resources across colleges.

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The role of advising

Academic and career advising is essential to ensuring students identify their pathway and stay on track. At Maricopa, we’re moving toward proactive advising, making sure students have an assigned point of contact from the time they start at a Maricopa campus until they transfer or complete their associate degree or certificate. To accomplish this, we’ll add advising staff, establish consistent standards across all of our colleges, and provide comprehensive training for all advisors. In addition, an advising e-tool will help us follow students wherever they may be on their Maricopa journeys.