Guided Pathways - Austin Community College District

GWW Database - Guided Pathways program
Academic Level
Issue Area
Key Personnel
Program Focus
First Year Support,
Institutional Change


Guided Pathways provides students with personalized, proactive advising to help them select an academic path, persist, and graduate. The goals of the program are to create a model where advisors coach students to develop agency in creating their academic path, foster student–advisor relationships through timely nudging at critical points, and helping students navigate resources to support their success. The tangible goals for the program are to increase persistence rates, and ultimately increase graduation rates of all students, especially Hispanic students.

Program Description

In early 2012, Guided Pathways began transforming academic advising by moving from a paper-advising process to a digital one. This provided a way to evaluate the effectiveness of advising and provided students a way to track their degree progress. Through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), ACC was selected to be an Integrated Planning and Advising for Student Success (IPASS) college, providing funds to co-develop Degree Map. This work expanded with the advent of Guided Pathways in 2016 and offered a framework to create areas of study (AoS), advising specialties, caseloads, and AoS information sessions.

In 2017, ACC was selected to partner with Inside Track for a 3-year partnership, again supported by the BMGF. During this time, advisors received rigorous professional development in adopting a Coaching Model.  Services include case managing 10,000 students with less than 12 hours.  Students receive at least 5 touch points (i.e. in-person, email, text, call) through the semester. They also receive referrals to internal/external resources.  A 65-page comprehensive Academic Coaching Manual informs this work. 


  • Timely nudging at critical points: Under the new advising model, the percent of Hispanic students with more than 1 advising session increased by 12%.
  • Increased retention: 1) Data indicates a 4% increase in retention of first-time students for the Fall 2018 cohort compared to the Fall 2015 cohort (from 76% to 80%); Hispanic students had an identical 4% improvement, with Hispanic male students showing a 6% improvement from 73% to 79%.
  • Increased GPAs: From 2015 to 2018, the percent of full-time FTIC students earning above a 2.0 GPA increased from 67% to 75%.