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Wall Street Journal: Community College Freshmen Get More Direction

12/13/2013 12:00 PM

Under pressure from business leaders and the Obama administration to boost graduation rates and job readiness, many community colleges across the country are narrowing their focus and students are being asked to declare an area of interest at the outset. ...  

City Colleges of Chicago in 2011 began to realign its curriculum to focus on getting students ready for careers, with each of its campuses designated as hubs for particular industries. The graduation rate climbed to ​12% in the 2012-2013 school year, up from 7% in 2008-2009.

Now, the school is mapping out sequences of courses for all 115,000 of its students enrolled on seven campuses and six satellite sites.

City Colleges wants to build all of its programming around distinct course sequences that earn students certificates along the way to an associate degree. "People can still make the same choices they want. We just want them to make informed choices," said Rasmus Lynnerup, the vice chancellor of strategy at City Colleges.

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