Meta-Majors: An Essential First Step on the Path to College Completion

At a Glance

How can colleges best use meta-majors to deter students from making poor course selections? This paper offers up design principles and raises key questions to guide the way colleges approach this technique.

Published jul. 07, 2016

A growing body of evidence reveals that a central factor in low completion rates for community college students is the “cafeteria” style approach to college, which provides entering students with a dizzying array of choices and little guidance on navigating those choices. A poor decision on which classes to take can cost community college students a significant amount of time and potentially mean the difference between earning a credential or degree and stopping or dropping out. Meta-majors are a programmatic response to these findings. Designed with the end (college completion) in mind, and using students' interests as a starting point, meta-majors provide structure and narrow choices to support student success. This paper seeks to scale the meta-majors conversation in the field by looking at two in-depth examples from colleges in Ohio and Florida, offering a set of design principles, and posing the key questions to help guide colleges’ thinking.

Read the Key Meta-Majors Questions.