In California, most high school graduates enroll at the California Community Colleges, the largest higher education system in the country, serving nearly 2 million students. Community colleges have long been a vital gateway to a bachelor’s degree, particularly for learners and families from communities of color and those who face outsized financial barriers.
Guided Pathways is a framework for community colleges to design and implement practices that provide appropriate structure and support for students to improve their experiences and shorten their time to degree.
Our view is that Guided Pathways can be a powerful, equity-driven approach to redesigning systemic supports to ensure that students can accomplish their academic goals.
Four principles guide the work so that students:
- Understand the Educational Path. Schools create clear and efficient course pathways linked to majors and careers and effectively communicate them to students.
- Enter the Path. Schools design intake processes that ask students about their interests and career goals and help them choose a program of study.
- Stay on the Path. Schools monitor students’ progress and proactively support them along their path, integrating academic advising with non-academic services such as financial aid
- Learn and Succeed. Schools create clear outcomes and measures for programs of study and establish regular procedures to assess student achievement.