Read the new report:


This document provides a shared vision from its authors – AACRAO, Complete College America, NACADA, NACE, NASPA and NCDA – for incorporating early career exploration and academic planning into the student on-boarding experience. Read it here.

Purpose First

Far too often, today’s college students find themselves wandering through their academic experiences, choosing from amongst a dizzying array of majors, courses, and out-of-classroom learning experiences. While having choices is a good thing, more than a decade of research suggests that too many choices, especially in the absence of adequate information, can have negative effects.

At worst, this “paradox of choice” leads to a dead end for students, yielding some college credit but no degree or other credential of value. But even for those who do complete, data reveal that many have swirled, accumulating excess credits, extending their time to degree, and tacking on extra costs in the process.

That’s why, in 2016, Complete College America and Strada Education Network announced an initiative to design a new model of advising and student intake that would equip students with valuable information, empower their decision-making, and build early academic momentum as they work toward degrees and ultimately careers.

Through partnerships with admissions, enrollment service, academic advising, and career services professions, Purpose First aims to redesign the student on-boarding experience by actively integrating information and support to better help students make informed decisions regarding their majors and careers.

Starting with the Dream in Mind

CCA Vice President Dhanfu Elston shares his story and offers insights on the organization's Purpose First initiative, a collaboration with higher education partners to help students evaluate interests, make more informed choices about programs and explore career pathways.