Online program to ease college transfer process for students - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Online program to ease college transfer process for students

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Posted: Friday, November 25, 2011 6:00 am

Every year, as many as 9,000 students transfer to Arizona State University, and many of those students are from neighboring community college systems.

Online advising programs already put into place for ASU students to increase student retention and knowledge about degree completion will soon be available to those transfer students.

"When we started eAdvisor, only 22 percent of our students were on the correct course path for their majors," said Elizabeth D. Capaldi, ASU executive vice president and provost, who developed the system in 1996 at the University of Florida. "Now 95 percent are."

The eAdvisor allows ASU students to match their interests to majors, make sure their classes fulfill requirements of their degrees, and measures how long it will take them to graduate. Soon, students at Maricopa County Community College District and Central Arizona College will have access to the same tools.

"E-Advisor is premised on the idea that students can succeed if they are in the right major," Capaldi said. "ASU has 250 majors, which can be bewildering to administrators, as well as students. The system also insures students are taking the correct classes in the correct order to obtain their degree on time."

The eAdvisor program has been in place since 2007 at ASU and, so far, it has increased freshman retention rates by about 8 percent, ASU reports. With an average freshman class of about 9,000 students, that increase means 720 addition students each year move on to become sophomores.

While the eAdvisor shows it can help freshman retention rates, it is too soon to tell if it increases graduation rates. Graduation rates are tracked by a six-year graduation schedule, but eAdvisor was implemented only four years ago at ASU.

Capaldi said after eAdvisor was introduced at the University of Florida, it increased the graduation rate by 20 percent.

The online advisor also helps assure students have selected a major they will be successful in. Classes deemed "diagnostic courses" are scheduled early in their college careers so students who do poorly will have time to change majors without disrupting their target graduation times.

Capaldi lists one example as statistics for psychology.

"You must be good at statistics to have a career in psychology, and in the past, a student might put off taking statistics, ultimately to find out that he or she can't do statistics and therefore can't major in psychology," she said.

By bringing eAdvisor to community college students before they transfer will allow those students to map out their degrees from the beginning.

Currently, ASU and both community college districts have partnership programs in place. Maricopa-ASU Partnership Program (MAPP) and CAC-ASU Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG) include guaranteed admission into certain degree programs, a tuition-rate commitment and specific scholarships for transfer students, among other benefits.

ASU is also hoping to create a similar program with Mesa Unified School District to improve the pipeline from high school to community college to four-year college degrees, an ASU press release states.

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