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After six years of helping first and second year college students successfully transition from high school to college, PCC Pathways will be extending its services to provide extra support to third-year students starting fall 2017.  

Pathways is a program exclusive to going straight to PCC after graduating high school. Their services and benefits include, but are not limited to: priority registration, academic coaches, and access to the Teaching and Learning Center (TLC), which provides free printing and access to student English and math tutors. Their motto, “get in, get out, get going” is literally Pathways’ goal for students: they want students to reach their academic goals and transfer or graduate from PCC as soon as possible.

The Pathways staff will welcome an estimate of 300 third-year college students to continue the program, as long as they finish required prerequisites during their second year. These requirements are to enhance students’ college experience while helping them stay on track for transferring or graduating. They include club participation, making an academic educational plan with a counselor, and volunteering for at least eight hours per semester.

The third-year program’s main focus will be on students with majors that demand a high number of units, as those need more time to finish their respective degrees at PCC.

“Students who [spend a third year at PCC] have different reasons for needing that extra time,” Pathway second year faculty leader, Stephanie Fleming wrote in an email to Courier staff. “We will work with the students on an individual level to address any support that they may need.”

PCC’s counseling faculty lead Myriam Altounji also explained that Pathways will provide more leadership opportunities for third-year students. The team wants to make sure that these students will continue to grow and develop skills that will help them succeed.

“We have been able to foster a growth of our students as successful college students and have created several opportunities for their growth as campus leaders,” Altounji wrote in an email to Courier staff. “We hope to continue this in the third-year [program].”

Altounji also explained that since there’s no program at PCC exclusive to third-year students to use as a model, it’s been challenging for the third-year Pathways staff to create a program that is unique, helpful, and responsive to the third-year students’ demands. Their staff plans to maintain their successful students’ rate among the third-year community.

“[During students’ third year], we are assisting students in finalizing their unique goals,” second-year coach lead Viriaesta Vergel De Dios explained. “Our continued hope is that because we utilize a multifaceted approach to supporting all of our students, they will have clear goals and the resources necessary to achieve them while building on their skills as members of a college community.”

The success of Pathways students at PCC has been evident since 2011. According to the 2017 Cost-Effectiveness report of the program, in a duration of 3.5 years, 31% of Pathway students have completed their goals with minimal cost, compared to 17% of non-Pathways students.

Also the numbers of students in the program has made significant growth throughout the years from 325 students in 2011-2012 to an estimate of 2,350 students in 2016-2017. Their first-year program was honored and recognized by many academia organizations, from the California Community College Chancellor’s Office to Excelencia in Education, based in Washington D.C.

“The Pathways program engages in a contract with students to provide services to support their goals while students agree to engage with the Pathways community through a variety of program requirements,” Altounji said. “I think any student who can commit to the Pathways requirements should sign up.”

Abigail Wilhelmina, an aspiring director and one of the first Pathways students to be in the third-year program, expressed how excited she is to continue benefitting from Pathways, with hopes in how Pathways can improve their program. She hopes the TLC will be more accessible to all Pathways students, instead of just first-year Pathways students. Wilhelmina would also like the eight hours of volunteering requirement to be more flexible, and more workshops available to all students.

“[I’d like workshops for students] who want to get an associate’s degree and not just for transferring students,”  Wilhelmina said. “In my opinion, the most helpful [resource at PCC] is the career center because my goal is to get a degree rather than transferring.”

Mechanical engineering major and incoming UC Berkeley transfer Alex Woo is most fond of the program’s priority registration. He believes priority registration is what interests students the most to join Pathways.

“[Priority registration] helps students finish classes earlier, thus, transferring earlier as they skip the time to struggle to get the classes they want,” Woo said.

Any student who will be going to PCC right after graduating high school can apply for Pathways here, as applications are ongoing, but should be submitted by July in order to get priority registration. For more information, visit Pathways’ office in V-102, call (626) 585-3215, or email pathways@pasadena.edu.

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