We will examine the effectiveness of the two treatment arms relative to a control group by implementing a randomized control trial. Eligible students within each campus will be randomized to one of three groups as follows:
1) The Control group will receive “business as usual” meaning the existing advising system.
2) The Automated Advising group will have a single meeting with a WMCC Dean to discuss a plan for the coming two semesters. This will include outlining course choices. The Auto Advising group will receive 4-5 texts per semester reminding them to a) refile the FAFSA, b) register for courses, c) seek help at midterm time if struggling in courses, d) an email reminder with the list of courses selected. Students will have the option to opt out of receiving reminder texts by replying STOP. The WMCC official performing this work will be someone other than the College Access Navigator. WMCC will maintain a spreadsheet/ database record with each of the contacts (or lack thereof).
3) The College Access Navigator (CAN) group will have biweekly meetings with the CAN. Each meeting (or its cancellation) will be recorded in the spreadsheet along with the time and approximate length of the meeting. The purpose of the meetings will include course selection, staying on track in the desired major, choosing majors that match the student’s skills and interest, making career plans, completing financial aid forms, identifying any academic areas where the student is struggling, identifying (and helping solve) any other obstacles to college completion. For each meeting the CAN should note which of the topics below are covered. The CAN should also note key items including: sources of family and friend support used by the student, major and career interests, any academic struggles, any obstacles to college completion, financial aid questions or concerns, best ways for the CAN to reach the student.