There’s no one way to achieve success in higher education. Attending a university from the get go might be a reality for some students at Arizona State University, a growing number of aspiring graduates are taking to community colleges to begin their adventure in post-high school education.
However, eventually transferring to a university can be a daunting process with nontransferable credits standing in the way.
The Maricopa to ASU Pathways Project (MAPP) ensures community college students in the Maricopa area no longer have to second guess it.
“The Maricopa to ASU Pathways Program is essentially designed to help a student who begins at a Maricopa community college but aspires to eventually transfer and complete a bachelor’s degree at ASU,” says Maria Hesse, vice provost for academic partnerships at ASU.
Hesse says MAPP presents students with a very clear and direct pathway that shows them what courses they should be taking at a community college that align with their desired major at ASU.
ASU and Rio Salado Community College graduate Andrew Allred credits the MAPP program for his current scholastic successes.
A high school dropout, Allred says he originally had the mindset that education is unimportant. After years of working and volunteering, Allred says he realized the successful people he was meeting all had some level of higher education.
Allred says he knew he needed to earn his GED, start at a two year college and then transfer to a four year university.
“It was kind of overwhelming at first because I didn’t get my GED until I was 22,” Allred says. “And then I started taking classes right away and I really didn’t understand or know exactly what I needed to do to finish community college and move on to a four-year university.”
Allred says a counselor at Mesa Community College directed him toward the MAPP program. He says the program was great because it mapped out every requirement he needed to seamlessly complete an ASU transfer and quickly complete his degree.
“New students who don’t have a strong counseling service from high school can get overwhelmed by the pure number of courses and the names at a community college or university,” Allred says. “The MAPP program really clarified things for them so there was no question of what I need to do. It just laid things out and really set me up for some great success.”
Today, Allred is studying at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, to earn his physician assistant’s masters.
While Arizona has employed a long-standing system called the course equivalency guide so that students can find what courses at a community college might transfer to a university, Hesse says the element missing from the equation was that students could not be sure what would actually apply to their eventual major.
“MAPP includes both the list of courses that the student should be taking, which also tells you the GPA you have achieve at your community college and if there’s other any special requirements,” Hesse says. “Our mantra is that there shouldn’t be any surprises for the students.”