Attending college is only the beginning of a long journey for students nationwide.
Although some believe the first step to success is enrolling in college, the substantial area where most students struggle is finding a career path to follow in order to flourish in their major.
Now there’s a new initiative to help students get on track early on.
Delta College has been selected as one of 20 California community colleges to take part in the California Guided Pathways Project.
Despite full implementation of the program not happening immediately, plans are currently in motion and a leadership team comprised of Delta administrators and faculty members are working to bring the project to fruition for the benefit of Delta College students.
Guided Pathways “is an approach to student success by creating structured educational experiences that supports each student from point of entry to attainment of high-quality postsecondary credentials and careers,” according to Delta College news release.
The official California Guided Pathways website said specifically this project will give students specific course sequences, progress milestones and program learning outcomes that will help reform the number of students earning community college credentials.
The purpose of Guided Pathways for Delta College is “to try and make the college experience easier for students and overall improve college criteria all together,” said Dr. Matt Wetstein, assistant superintendent/vice president of instruction and planning.
With a new program reorganizing the education system and helping students only take classes directed towards specific studies, students now feel their wishes have been granted.
“To be honest, the path I want to follow is just to get to nursing. I’ve had to take too many general education classes that don’t even have to do with my major. I feel like it just keeps you here longer,” said student Isabel Vanbemmel.
This specific program came into play because “we have too many students coming into community college not knowing what they want to do. It’s good to look at your options for awhile, but at some point you have to settle down and decide what you want to do,” said Wetstein.
The program hopes to provide students with a variety of options.
“Think of it as the cafeteria in Danner Hall,” he said. “With the old general education model we tell students ‘here is a variety of food to pick from. You can eat it however you want in the order you want. Just make sure you eat it all.’ Yet, there are a lot of students who don’t know what they want to eat. But now with the new model coming into place we give students a bundle deal. We give them only the food needed for their career and cut out the excess fat.”
This project will be beneficial to students in various aspects such as giving them a guide to find a major and have a course map leading them to successfully graduating Delta College with the right degree for the major they have picked.
There are students that have been at Delta for an extended amount of time, but have yet to see a counselor.
Not everyone on the Delta campus feel as though having a set path to follow is the way to go.
“I like a general education system. All courses help people grow instead of only taking what is needed. I see why they would want to fast track students, but all classes have a purpose,” said Jim Fowler.
With Guided Pathways, more students will have the opportunity to sit with a counselor and have a structured plan to follow that will lead them to their goals.
“This program will allow counseling and Guided Pathways to co-exists to better help all students. It will provide them a clear pathway and give them more concrete information as to where the specific path will get them,” said Delta College Counselor Diane Feneck.
While many aspects of that work within the Guided Pathways model are in place, the goal is to have full spread by the 2019-20 school year.