Exploratory Advising Assessment

Mission Statement

Exploratory Advising (EA), a division of Student Affairs, assists students in actively exploring and identifying majors to match their career interests. EA strives to help facilitate a smooth transition to the appropriate Departmental Advising Office. This is accomplished through assistance in major/career exploration, individual and group advising sessions and workshops as well as with assistance from our highly skilled student Advising Aides.

Goals and Learning Outcomes

To assist in the academic success of Exploratory, Aggie Prep, Pre-Business, and Pre-Health students, Exploratory Advising will:

  • Promote the purpose of general education.
  • Provide opportunities for critical self-reflection.
  • Facilitate major and career exploration by directing students to appropriate tools.
  • Coordinate the Exploratory Advising Bridge Program and Aggie Prep Program.
  • Collaborate with Division of Student Affairs personnel to provide fitting referral services.

Foundational Documents

Exploratory Advising adheres to the guidelines identified by the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) and the Council for the Advancement of Standards (CAS) Advising Standards. As such, Exploratory Advising endorses the core values of responsible academic advising.

As a department within the Division of Student Affairs, Exploratory Advising abides by the professional competencies established by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA).

 Assessment Plan 2017 - 2018

Goals Assessment Tool Data Source Documentation Timeline Responsible Persons Map to Division Goals

Implement revisions to the process
for students with less than good academic
standing. The revisions include a shortened
academic standing acknowledgment,
positive nudges to aid in student success,
mandatory advising appointments, and
providing appropriate resources.

Secondary data review. Argos reports using Banner data. One to three months after end of term academic standing processing. Niki Weight, Stephanie Hamblin Student Affairs Goals 1, 6, and 8

Develop an understanding of high credit
Exploratory students in an effort to reduce
the number of students in Exploratory with
more than 45 earned credits. This will be accomplished by:

  • Identifying number of students with over 45 credits for each semester beginning Fall 2015 (semester center was renamed Exploratory Advising).
  • Surveying students with 45 or more earned credits to determine why they are still Exploratory
Secondary data review and student survey.  Argos reports using Banner data.
Students with 45 or more earned credits.
One to three months after end-of-term. Niki Weight
Stephanie Hamblin 
Student Affairs Goals 1, 6, and 8

Outcomes Data

For 2016-2017, Exploratory Advising examined the graduation and retention rates of Exploratory (formerly Undeclared) students compared to students who entered the university with a declared major. Using the Fall 2011 first-time, first semester freshman cohort attending the Logan campus for the review, it was found that students who start as Undeclared had lower retention and graduation rates compared to students with a declared major. This data prompted additional analysis into tracking retention and graduation based on the time when Undeclared students declared their major. We found that Undeclared students who declared a major within their first year had graduation rates for a Bachelor's degree comparable to the overall cohort graduation rate. See Table 1.

Table 1: A bar graph of the graduation rates of 201140 cohort students that started college as an undeclared major. Section one compares the 4yr associate degree graduation rate (based on 1yr retention cohort) with 26.77% still undeclared after one year, 15.94% declared after one year, and 13.83% cohort graduation rate. Section two compares the 4 yr bachelor degree graduation rate (based on 1 yr retention cohort) with 24.75% still undeclared after one year, 41.55% declared after one year, and 43.06% cohort graduation rate.

As part of this analysis, we learned that students who began at the university as Undeclared changed their major less often compared to students who entered the university with a declared major. See Table 2.

Table 2: A stacked bar graph of the comparision of major changes between students that start declared vs undeclared (based on students from 201140 cohort first year retention cohort that graduated in 4 years). Section one compares the population that started declared with 43.79% stayed the same major and 56.21% changed major at least 1 time. Section two compares the population that started undeclared with 74.07% stayed the same major and 25.93% changed major at least 1 time.

Based on these findings, we conducted anaylsis of Exploratory students who met with an advisor in Exploratory Advising during the 2016-2017 academic year to identify why they were Exploratory. After these appointments, advisors provided data regarding why the student was Exploratory. These responses were categorized into eleven unique areas. See Chart 1. These results sparked a learning objective for the 2017-2018 academic year to develop an understanding of high credit Exploratory students in an effort to reduce the number of students in Exploratory with more than 45 earned credits.

Table 3: A pie chart of the reasons why students are exploratory (2967 student interactions). This factors out students who were admitted into Aggie Prep Program, met for Academic Standing, who are taking an LDA, or whose appt was non-applicable to major exploration. 12% knew the major they want and need to declare. 19% knew the major they want but need to take prereqs, raise GPA, or other requirements first. 4% narrowed down ideas to 2 majors, trying to decide. 8% had a general idea of an area of interest but trying to decide for sure. 2% had lots of interests but with some direction. 32% had no specific direction and were very open. 11% were admitted into the bridge program. 2% were pursuing an associate degree. 5% were prospective students. 2% were transferring to another school. 3% gave the reason as “other”.

Continuous Improvement

In the 2016-2017 academic year, the Aggie Prep Program coordinated by the Exploratory Advising Center implemented several programmatic changes to better implement the program goals and assist students in achieving success. These changes included

  • Passing grades for the required courses were clearly defined as:
    • English 1010: C- or higher
    • USU 1010/1730: C- or higher
    • Math/Stats course: C- or higher unless a general math course in which a D is considered passing
  • Students admitted into the program after Fall 2016, were required to maintain a 2.0 USU overall GPA to continue in the program.
  • The two-semester mandatory advising appointment was only required for students if they received below a 2.5 GPA semester GPA during their first semester.
  • The notation “Mid-semester Check-in” used for the mandatory advising appointment was renamed to “Aggie Prep Advising Appointment.”
  • Admission into the Aggie Prep Program was restricted to new freshman or students transferring with less than 24 credits.
  • Students will no longer be transferred from the Aggie Prep Program into the Exploratory program.