Story Student Success

Academic Advising and Technology: Vital Tools for Timely Graduation

Christianne Salvador

 

 

​Strong academic advising has always been a key strategy in helping CSU students navigate a path to graduation, however, academic advising is more critical now than ever before with the unveiling of the Graduation Initiative 2025.

As it embarks on graduating an additional 500,000 career-ready students in the next 4-6 years, the CSU has committed to increasing efforts at removing barriers that impede students' degree goals and timely completion, efforts that include enhancement of academic advising. In addition to hiring more academic advisors, the CSU Chancellor's Office has engaged campuses to invest in and implement eAdvising – technology used by students, faculty and staff to complement the services provided by campus advisors.

eAdvising provides students clear pathways to graduation, tracks progress to degree and offers class schedules in line with the requirements needed to graduate. Some campuses began investing in eAdvising platforms as early as 2013. Now nearly all campuses have implemented eAdvising, in addition to traditional academic advising services. Since the beginning of its implementation, eAdvising has proven to be convenient and satisfies the needs of students who are looking for regular progress reports while allowing counselors to focus more on the students who need their help the most.

"Usually, the students who go to counselor's offices are the ones who are on the right track to degree, the ones who know how to use campus resources and want to regularly track their progress," said Eric Forbes, CSU's assistant vice chancellor for Student Academic Support. "eAdvising enables students to get the same advising services at their own time, in their own space, while allowing counselors to draw in more students who will not usually come into their office – the students that need attention the most."

eAdvising is comprised of several tools that are either student-facing (providing direct services to students) or institutional-facing (informing faculty and advisers of students' data and analytics). Data from these tools provides critical information for class scheduling and academic planning for administrators. The four main tools in eAdvising include:

Tool 1: Class scheduler

Most campuses are utilizing a sophisticated scheduling tool and are encouraged by student adoption of this superior way to enroll in classes. Waiting in line to see a college counselor or "running for classes" is no longer necessary in order to achieve a balanced schedule. By simply logging on and entering their non-available times, students can select from an array of possible schedules, helping them to avoid bottleneck courses and unavailable classes. In turn, the program advises administrators which classes are in high-demand and allows them to make data-driven decisions by offering more of those high-demand courses.

Tool 2: Degree audit

The automated degree audit function is essentially an academic rear view mirror. It audits students' completed courses and areas of improvement. Having this knowledge allows students to see their progress to degree, ensure graduation requirements are being met on time or make a decision to switch majors if the current path is not working for them. Based on the courses they've completed and their academic strengths, students have the option of exploring alternative paths they can take to meet their degree goals.

Tool 3: Academic planner

Whereas the degree audit is a rear view mirror, the academic planner is forward-looking. The academic planner provides students with the roadmap of the courses still needed to satisfy degree completion. This tool allows students to build their schedules in advance and have an academic plan. If students decide to switch majors, the academic planner lets students know how many additional semesters are needed until degree completion. Having this roadmap allows students to calculate additional costs associated with extending their time to degree.

Tool 4: Predictive academic analytics

These tools enable counselors and advisors to identify students in need of assistance by collecting and analyzing an abundance of student data. The program analyzes student performance in order to reach out to students long before emerging warnings become burdens. Counselors are able to identify students who are in need of one-on-one academic counseling and will be invited into their office to discuss possible remedies. The tools are also helpful to advisors in reaching out to various sets of students participating in special programs and to students who should be ready to file for graduation. 

Now in its fourth year of implementation, eAdvising will continue to be utilized, expanded, and advanced throughout the CSU system. At the same time, the CSU continues to invest in other high-impact strategies, such as hiring more academic advisors, to bolster degree completion rates.

For more information on eAdvising, visit: http://courseredesign.csuprojects.org/wp/eadvising/

Graduation Initiative; Completion