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Online Degrees

Part of Western Governors University

Program for Academic and Career Advancement (PACA)

OWL Transfer students can take advantage of the PACA program.

Not your ordinary college course.

The Program for Academic and Career Advancement (PACA) is designed to help you develop the positive mindset, confidence, tenacity, and planning and study habits that dramatically increase your odds of finishing your program and fulfilling your dreams. Drawing on a WGU award-winning course that has served over 20,000 students, the content of the PACA course has been described as “transformative” by many students and is certain to strengthen your resolve and confidence.

The power of coaching.

College-level coursework isn’t easy. Even the most successful students benefit from various kinds of support during their college experience. Drawing on WGU’s award-winning expertise, WGU Academy has developed a coaching and peer-support approach that will strengthen your academic skills, build your confidence, and reinforce your determination to succeed. PACA is at the heart of our approach, coupled with personalized one-to-one support from an assigned coach. There’s nothing quite like it in all of higher education, and it really works!

PACA logo

The approach.

For guaranteed admission into a WGU degree program, you must complete the PACA and at least two courses that align with your intended program at WGU.

One course, English Composition I, is required unless you have already successfully completed it at another college. (Because writing skills are critical for both academic and career success, you need to develop and prove your core writing abilities. It's worth it.)

For your second course, you may select from a list of transferable courses that align with the WGU degree you plan to pursue.

You should plan on three to four months to complete PACA and two courses. However, you can complete them at your own pace, potentially saving time and money. Additional courses may be added later if you choose, but they are not required for admission into WGU. 

A "Thriving Mindset."

PACA will help you develop a Thriving Mindset, which in turn, will improve your interpersonal communication skills, self-efficacy, critical thinking abilities, and resilience in the face of adversity.1

PACA follows an evidence-based approach, relying on principles of social, cognitive, educational, and industrial/organizational psychology in each step of the process.

What PACA is:

  1. Thriving Mindset –This breakthrough program will boost your performance and prepare you for the workplace with the tools you need, such as confidence, self-awareness, the ability to collaborate, emotional intelligence, and the ability to effectively set and achieve goals.
  2. Executive Coaching Principles –You will have access to a Success Coach who will guide you through performance-enhancing techniques used by some of the nation’s top Fortune 500 companies.
  3. Peer Support – A series of group and individual sessions will help you feel supported by your peers. You will know you can succeed and thrive in a college or business setting.
  4. Academic Success – PACA graduates experience greater success with managing a college course load and maintaining progress than students who don't take and complete the PACA program. 2

What PACA does:

  1. Improves Self Reflection and Awareness – Increase your comfort level with self-reflection and, consequently, be able to leverage greater critical awareness.
  2. Enhances Critical Thinking Skills – Identify potential sources of bias, assumptions, and cause and effect relationships when analyzing an issue to heighten critical thinking skills.
  3. Increases Confidence and Motivation – Build your confidence and motivation when it comes to academic achievement and be better able to handle setbacks and failures.
  4. Fosters a Sense of Belonging – Feel like you belong and can thrive in a college or business setting.
  5. Boosts 21st Century Skills – Strengthen the skills that employers are looking for, including emotion management, self-regulation, empathy, self-efficacy, self-discovery, conflict resolution, and community building.
  6. Strengthens Resiliency and Self Discipline – Recognize thought patterns and behaviors that occur in response to challenges and learn how to thrive in these situations.
1 Bandura, 1977; Khine & Areepattamannil, 2016; Mayer & Salovey, 1997; Zambrono et al., 2019; Zimmerman, 2001. 
2 Reshma Gouravajhala. Comparison of Academy Grads & Non-Academy WGU Students: First Term OTP. Salt Lake City, 2020.