Key Levers to Align Advising

Academic Benefits
Academic Benefits
Academic Benefits

Levers for Aligned Advising

A coherent strategy for high-quality, equity-driven advising requires a commitment to three key levers that will create the enabling conditions for alignment.

Own the Hand-off

Leaders should create an action plan, convene collaborators, and establish a policy environment that prioritizes advising.

Create an equity-driven plan for aligned advising

Colorado Rises - the Colorado Commission on Higher Education’s master plan - set a goal for 66% attainment by 2025 and prioritizes increasing credential completion, erasing equity gaps, improving student success, and investing in affordability and innovation. An accompanying dashboard tracks statewide progress on these priorities.
  • Set a vision and goals for both postsecondary and career attainment.
  • Put someone in charge, and define responsibilities across stakeholders.
  • Communicate the economic and moral imperative.

Open the table for collaboration

Achieve Atlanta serves as an intermediary organization, partnering with College Advising Corps, One Goal, and nearly a dozen postsecondary institutions to support the college access and success of Atlanta Public Schools students. They also offer a scholarship program for low-income students and provide information and tools for students and families.
  • Convene all relevant stakeholders.
  • Ensure student and family voices are elevated.
  • Build structures for ongoing collaboration.

Hold systems accountable

Illinois, Georgia, and North Dakota hold high schools accountable for students’ success after graduation by including measures such as postsecondary enrollment and remediation in their state report cards.
Tennessee’s outcomes-based funding formula was designed in collaboration with systems, campuses, and state government representatives to hold colleges and universities accountable for supporting students. The formula rewards institutions that improve on key outcomes and adds a premium for supporting low-income students, adult learners, and academically underprepared students.
  • Build incentives and support structures for prioritizing advising.
  • Organize and integrate capacity, funding, data, and existing initiatives.
  • Define the key counselor, student, and system actions.
  • Track, publicly report, and disseminate progress and disaggregated outcomes.

Pave the Path to Support

Leaders should build capacity, simplify processes, enable cross-sector data sharing, and prioritize exploration & identity development.

Eliminate friction

The City University of New York (CUNY) has many programs in place to smooth the transition from high school to postsecondary. College Now and the Early College Initiative bring dual enrollment and college readiness programs into high schools, CUNY Start and LINCT to Success support underprepared students, and CUNY ASAP provides advising and wrap-around services to ensure students complete their degrees.
  • Prioritize early postsecondary opportunities.
  • Create articulated career pathways from high school to postsecondary.
  • Simplify postsecondary enrollment and financial processes.
  • Renovate the first year college experience.

Use data to empower

Georgia State University has dramatically increased graduation rates and essentially eliminated equity gaps by leveraging data-driven student support initiatives such as predictive analytics, chatbots, early alert systems, completion grants, and proactive advising. George State is launching the National Institute for Student Success to help other colleges and universities leverage data for student success.
  • Link critical data on students’ plans, progress, and supports across systems.
  • Enable data sharing with all relevant stakeholders, including students.
  • Identify and address equity gaps.
  • Power proactive advising to provide targeted support.

Spur college and career identity

Hamilton County Schools prepares all students for college and career through high school preparation programs for middle school students, work-based learning opportunities, expanded early postsecondary opportunities, and career pathways. The district also partners with the Public Education Foundation to offer college success programs and mentoring to alumni.
  • Provide early and ongoing college and career exploration and planning.
  • Expand engagement and support to alumni, including an explicit focus on near-peer advising.
  • Prioritize academic and professional opportunities to build networks of support and social capital.

Catalyze capacity

DCPS Persists offers all college-bound graduates a pre-college orientation, connection to a network of DC Public Schools graduates, and persistence coaches to help students navigate the transition to college.
  • Reimagine advising as a process that extends beyond school years and across systems.
  • Maximize internal capacity by shifting and expanding who does advising across K-12 and higher education.
  • Build capacity with external partners.
  • Align counselor training and certification around college and career readiness.

Unlock Alignment at Scale

Leaders should incentivize advising, support communities in establishing promising practices, and develop new methods.

Invest for success

The Puget Sound College and Career Network (PSCCN) increases collaboration and builds regional capacity to increase postsecondary readiness and completion. PSCCN supports initiatives like the King County Promise which provides funding to increase the number of high school, college, and community-based organization advisors and improve K-12 to college alignment.
  • Create new funding streams for advising that span systems.
  • Incent the highest-leverage advising practices.
  • Dedicate funds to increasing boots on the ground.

Leverage key learnings

The Beyond KIPP Resource Library is a free resource for teachers, counselors, leaders, and families that includes tools for helping students with college match, financial aid, and college persistence.
  • Activate communities of practice.
  • Codify and disseminate promising practices and resources.
  • Provide training on key advising practices and data tools.

Establish a research and development agenda

The Christensen Institute has developed a playbook for K-12 and postsecondary institutions to help build and strengthen their students’ networks and social capital.
  • Explore how to differentiate models for different community and population needs.
  • Define and measure social capital.
  • Determine the balance of support from technology versus human capital.