What We Know about Guided Pathways

College students are more likely to complete a degree in a timely fashion if they choose a program and develop an academic plan early on, have a clear road map of the courses they need to take to complete a credential, and receive guidance and support to help them stay on plan. However, most community colleges operate on a self-service or "cafeteria" model, allowing students to choose from an abundance of disconnected courses, programs and support services. To address this problem, a growing number of community colleges and four-year universities are adopting a guided pathways approach, which presents courses in the context of highly structured, educationally coherent program maps that align with students' goals for careers and further education. This resource is designed to help community college leaders and staff who are considering guided pathways reforms at their college. The brief describes the reform model and summarizes evidence supporting its design principles.

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March 2015