New initiative to help students not lose credit

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In the fall of 2020, incoming freshman who are currently undecided on their potential major will have the opportunity to sample classes at Laramie County Community College with the implementation of the Guided Pathways Program.

The Guided Pathways Program, according to LCCC’s model, groups specific courses together to help students decide on a major or pathway to earning a degree or diploma.

If a student decides on a major in his or her first semester but switches majors during the second semester, the student can do that without losing credits or affecting financial aid.

The precipice behind the pathway model is to dissuade community colleges from using the traditional “cafeteria” type model and use more of a timely model, according to the Community College Research Center.

“Students who earned at least eight college credits in a program area within the first year were 20 percentage points more likely than those who did not to earn a credential or transfer within seven years,” CCRC states.

According to LCCC Librarian Meghan Kelly, the point of the pathway program is to help undecided students graduate within a two-year time frame by using the first semester as an exploration semester.

“The goal of it would be to group programs into broader subject areas, so that when a student comes in, if they are not sure exactly what they want to do, they could take general course work in courses that let them sort of explore in that broader area before they choose an actual program,” Kelly said.

Guided Pathways’ main goal is to help students keep their credits without losing them when they choose a major.

“Instead of switching programs, (students) can do that exploratory time and then pick a program, so that they don’t switch programs and end up losing credits,” Kelly said.

Students who choose to go through this program would end up earning what would be known as a pathway degree, according to Kelly.

Kelly also said that students who end up graduating with this degree could either apply it directly to jobs or they can transfer to a four-year college.

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