Panel Paper: Scaling Academic Planning in Community College: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Friday, November 3, 2017
Columbian (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Alexander K. Mayer and Mary Visher, MDRC

Community college students often lack an academic plan to guide their choice

of coursework and achieve their education goals, in part because counseling

departments typically lack the capacity to advise all students. This randomized

controlled trial tested the impact of guaranteed access to either a group workshop

or a one-on-one academic counseling session to help students prepare an academic

plan, along with reminders to attend the sessions. Both interventions increased

academic plan completion rates by more than 20 percentage points over completion

rates for a control group that received neither guaranteed access to a counseling

session nor ongoing electronic “nudges” to attend. Exploratory evidence suggests

that workshop counseling is as effective as one-on-one counseling in getting

students to complete the academic planning process. Workshop counseling was the

most cost-effective counseling option based on completion rates of academic plans.

Full Paper: