How to Connect 2-Year Students to a 4-Year School and a Career
Posted by Strada Education Network on August 31, 2021
Nationwide, about 80 percent of students enrolling in community college say they intend to move on to a four-year institution and earn a bachelor’s degree. But only 15 percent achieve that goal within six years.
Northern Virginia Community College and George Mason University have come together to shrink barriers — and help students connect with a field of study, a completed degree, and a career.
Here’s some advice from program leaders:
- Bring faculty together — from both institutions — to build a seamless curriculum.
This step seems obvious. It sounds simple. And yet, says one program administrator, it is “probably one of the most difficult things that any institution is able to do.”
- Offer an individual success coach.
The NOVA/George Mason program, called ADVANCE, enhances traditional advising by pairing a student with one advisor who works with them at both the two-year school and the four-year one, and broadening the kind of problems addressed through campus advising.
- Invite community college students to be part of the four-year university’s culture.
NOVA and George Mason have stepped back from the word “transfer.” From students’ first day in the program, ADVANCE students have access to the programming and services available at the four-year school they aspire to attend.
- Engage with local and regional employers so the seamless pathways you build don’t end with the curriculum.
ADVANCE pulled together employers to discuss the skills they expect from students — and how those skills relate to college degrees. The idea is to create more transparency for students, faculty, and employers about how lessons learned in the classroom relate to real-world industry needs.
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