Complete College America, in collaboration with the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, and the National Career Development Association (NCDA), released a new report today outlining a shared vision for incorporating early career exploration and academic planning into the student on-boarding experience.

The report, Shared Beliefs and Practices for Putting Purpose First in American Higher Education, serves as a guiding resource within CCA’s Purpose First initiative. Purpose First was established in 2016 with support from Strada Education Network to design a new model of advising and student intake to build early momentum as students work toward degrees and ultimately careers.

“Purpose First serves a critical role within the overall pathways movement because from the start, it empowers students to make an informed decision based on their skills, goals and what jobs will be available to them after graduation,” said CCA Vice President Dhanfu Elston. “Providing this key guidance breaks through barriers faced particularly by underrepresented students, who may enter into college with a limited understanding of the options available to them and how majors align with careers.”

The new report draws on components from demonstration sites in the Purpose First initiative and focuses on three main principles: higher education as the launching pad toward a meaningful career through empowering students to make informed choices; career exploration and planning as an early and intentional component of the academic experience; and the importance of states, systems and institutions building a “culture of purpose” across all tiers in higher education.

“New Hampshire is committed to ensuring our students find the intersection of their passions, their future professions, and the programs of study that lead them there,” said Community College System of New Hampshire Chancellor Ross Gittell. “We’re thrilled to participate in the Purpose First initiative and to leverage these powerful tools to graduate more students, fill our workforce pipeline and ensure more young people are staying in the state.”

To read the full report, go to