North Central Texas College strives to provide students the courses of study that best match their educational and career goals. To accomplish this, the college has “transfer pathways” intended to help students customize their studies and select the best combination of classes (both core options and electives) that align with specific fields of study and their plans for an intended major at a four-year university.
Prescriptive and general in nature, pathways do not supplant degree plans, but they minimize missteps and make it easier for students to get to where they want to go. Think of it as a “roadmap” to the future.
“The whole point is to help students succeed,” says Sara Flusche, NCTC’s dean of instruction. “It just happens too many times that students take the wrong math credit or they struggle with something like algebra — a struggle that is usually caused by a lack of interest in the topic — and find out later that they could have taken statistics instead. … Or, they use up their financial aid taking one course and then when they transfer to a four-year university, they’re told, ‘Oops, that’s not the core course you needed, and you still have to take this other one’ — which eats up more of their time and money.”
NCTC’s pathways initiative is aligned with Texas Pathways, an integrated, system-wide approach to student success that is based on the American Association of Community Colleges’ Pathways Project, and Flusche offers the opinion that NCTC has gone “above and beyond” in its efforts to streamline the process for students and help them enroll in the core courses that are right for them.
New for Fall 2019, NCTC will offer 21 Associate of Arts pathways — in fields of study ranging from Anthropology and the Humanities to History and the Visual Arts. This is in addition
to eight AAT pathways for teacher education students; and four Associate of Science pathways. NCTC’s pathways also align with recommended fields of study from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and the state of Texas’ “60x30TX” initiative — which has an ambitious goal of trying to reduce higher education credit hours by 60 hours by 2030.
Students seeking more details are encouraged to visit the Counseling and Advising office at any NCTC campus, or to email firstname.lastname@example.org to review the pathways options as well as potential transfer opportunities.
WHY HIGHER ED MATTERS
Recent statistics show that only 20 percent of Texas 8th-grade students in 2006 graduated from college by 2017, and experts say that in another 10-12 years, 60 percent of Texans will need a certificate or degree for the state to stay competitive in the global economy and to fill the jobs that will be available. Additional research shows that someone with a bachelor’s degree can earn nearly double the lifetime wages of a high school graduate — facts which contributed to the state’s
adoption of its 60x30TX initiative.