Designing a System for Strategic Advising

Karp, Melinda Jane Mechur; Stacey, Georgia West

Students attending community colleges are faced with a variety of complex procedures and decisions. They must not only navigate financial aid applications and registration but also choose the type of credential they will pursue, their major (often from among hundreds) and the courses they will enroll in (often from among thousands). At the same time, they must take into account how course choices serve their long-term goals as well as their immediate logistical needs; for instance, some courses may count for financial aid purposes but not for graduation, or for graduation but not transfer. For many community college students—a significant portion of whom are the first in their family to attend college—these tasks appear to be insurmountable hurdles. The sheer number of choices students face can lead them to stumble. Students may waste time and money on unnecessary courses; they may miss a financial aid deadline. These stumbles can contribute to a sense that they do not “belong” in college. Advisors help students make choices in a complex environment, often by explaining the costs and benefits of each available option, and they guide students to additional resources that will help them make good decisions.


  • thumnail for designing-a-system-for-strategic-advising.pdf designing-a-system-for-strategic-advising.pdf application/pdf 323 KB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Community College Research Center
Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
February 13, 2014


This is part two of CCRC’s nonacademic student supports practitioner packet. Access parts one and three of the packet in Academic Commons: What We Know About Nonacademic Student Supports (part one) at and Student Success Courses for Sustained Impact (part three) at