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Scaling Academic Planning in Community College: A Randomized Controlled Trial

By Mary G. Visher, Alexander K. Mayer, Michael Johns, Timothy Rudd, Andrew Levine, Mary Rauner


Academic planning is widely considered to be a promising strategy for improving persistently low completion rates at community colleges, but most community college counseling departments lack the resources to advise all students.

This randomized controlled trial investigates the impact of technology-based counseling interventions, coupled with targeted nudges and guaranteed access to counseling sessions, on community college student outcomes.

Students were randomly assigned to one of three groups: a control group, or one of two intervention groups — workshop counseling sessions and one-on-one counseling sessions.

Key Findings

  • Academic plan completion rates increased
  • Workshop counseling was the most cost effective

Any community college in the nation interested in scalable, efficient, and cost-effective means of streamlining students’ academic planning process may find this study’s results useful.

Download a three-page factsheet.

Resource Details

Product Information

Copyright: 2016
Format: PDF
Pages: 50
Publisher: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences