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Guided Pathways

What is Guided Pathways?

Guided Pathways is a research-based approach that simplifies choices for students.

Courses are grouped together to form clear paths through college and into careers, whether students enter those careers directly after graduation or transfer to a university for more study in their chosen fields. Students get intensive, targeted advising to choose a path, stay on the path, learn what they need to know and graduate.

In Washington state, our Guided Pathways efforts are focused on helping more of our students — especially low-income, first-generation students and students of color   earn credentials to prepare them for entry into higher-paying, high-demand fields with value in the labor market.


Kristi Wellington-Baker
Student Success Center Director

Lexi Swanson
Administrative Assistant


The Four Design Principles of Guided Pathways

Adapted from "Implementing Guided Pathways: Early Insights From the AACC Pathways Colleges." Davis Jenkins, Hana Lahr, John Fink. Community College Research Center (CCRC), Teachers College, Columbia University. April 2017.

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Clearly mapping out every program, indicating which courses students should take in what sequence and highlighting courses that are critical to success, along with “cocurricular” requirements and progress milestones. For each program, provide detailed information is provided on the employment opportunities targeted by the program and the transfer requirements for bachelor’s programs in related fields.

From the moment of entry, Students are shown all the career and program options within their metamajor, and with guidance, develops an individual educational plan. Courses are re-designed and supports are put in place to enable students to complete college-level math and English courses, appropriate to their intended field of study, ideally within their first year of study.

Through intensive advising, student progress is closely monitored in order to keep them on their path, assist them if they want to choose another path, intervene when they go off the path. Assistance is provided to students who are unlikely to be accepted into limited-access programs to redirect them to a more viable path to credentials and a career.

Program learning outcomes are aligned with the requirements for success in further education and employment in a related field. Faculty use the results of learning outcomes assessments to improve the effectiveness of instruction in their programs. A key focus of teaching in the pathways model is attention to collaborative, active learning that is relevant to the student’s field of interest. This includes teaching and learning in the classroom as well as learning that takes place outside the classroom, such as through internships or service learning.




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Last Modified: 6/19/19 3:22 PM

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