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Guided Pathways

What is Guided Pathways?

Guided Pathways reform is a student-centered approach that can dramatically increase the number of students earning community college credentials while closing equity gaps. Rather than work with a subset of students, Guided Pathways is a college-wide undertaking that provides a framework for integrating California-based initiatives such as SSSP, Equity, Basic Skills Transformation, the Strong Workforce Program, and California College Promise.    

  • Guided pathways provide students with clear, educationally coherent program maps that include specific course sequences, progress milestones, and program learning outcomes.
  • These maps are aligned with the knowledge and skills required by four-year institutions and the labor market, thus ensuring that students can continue their studies and advance in their careers.
  • The maps help to simplify decision-making for students by providing intentional opportunities for exploration and informed choices. Students are helped from the start to understand academic and career options, choose a program of study, and develop a plan based on the program maps.
  • These plans enable colleges to provide predictable schedules, frequent feedback, and embedded, discipline-specific support to help students stay on track and complete their programs more efficiently.
  • They also facilitate efforts by faculty to ensure that students are building knowledge and skills within and across programs that will allow them to succeed in further education and on the job.

More Information

Key Elements of Guided Pathways

Key elements of the Guided Pathways model are:

  • Programs that are fully mapped out and aligned with further education and career advancement, while also providing structured or guided exploration for undecided students.
  • Redesigning and integrating basic skills/developmental education classes to accelerate students to college-level classes. 
  • Structured onboarding processes including improved placement tests and corequisite instruction that provide students with clear, actionable, and usable information they need to get off to the right start in college. 
  • Proactive academic and career advising from the start through completion and/or transfer, with assigned point of contact at each stage.
  • Responsive student tracking systems aligned with interventions and resources to help students stay on the pathway, persist, and progress. 
  • Instructional support and co-curricular activities aligned with classroom learning and career interests.

Why Are We Doing It?

All Cosumnes River College students deserve an institution where they are empowered to improve the cultural, social economic, and environmental health of their communities. To do so, we must be successful in implementing guided pathways to simplify their navigation to completion and their approach to resources. Our student success data – across every indicator – demonstrate our current methods are not effective. Furthermore, students who are traditionally disadvantaged in higher education, fair no better at our College. The California Community College system places a high value on college access and as a result, CRC students are provided with access to the multitude of options we offer to help them be successful. Unfortunately, the traditional cafeteria-style of providing a college education to students is not an effective one in making them successful. We must make an institutional and cultural transformation on how the College currently conducts business in order to guide our students to be successful. 

At CRC, we proudly proclaim that diversity is our strength and we approach the work of guided pathways as our equity work; we shall design and implement guided pathways with great care and intention in order to close the achievement gaps without compromising rigor. We seek to empower a wider range of diverse students to succeed in higher education and career opportunities.

We Need To Do This for Our Students:

Los Rios Shared Design Principles

The shared design principles for the districtwide Guided Pathways work are:

  • Puts students first
  • Focuses on equity
  • Values effective, timely communication
  • Values relationships
  • Is collaborative
  • Is led by faculty and classified professionals and is supported by administration, with input from students
  • Is structured to foster timely completion
  • Is fully resourced
  • Reflects and values the unique cultures and communities of each of the colleges

Our goals are to:

  • Connect students early and often to the people, programs, and services they need to succeed
  • Simplify the student experience by removing barriers and providing clear, consistent, and timely messages to students
  • Encourage career/major exploration early and often so that students make more informed decisions
  • Provide personalized, proactive support to students to help them find an educational path and stay on it
  • Create scalable and sustainable solutions

For more information, view the Los Rios Shared Design Principles.

Learn More About Guided Pathways

Students receiving graduation acknowledgements from staff

Student Success Teams

Student Success Teams are counseling and instructional faculty, classified staff, peer mentors and the CAC dean who all work together to provide holistic support to students.

Student Success Teams

Group of staff in a meeting

Work Groups

There are four work groups of Guided Pathways: Clarifying the Path, Entering the Path, Staying On The Path and Learning on the Path.

Guided Pathways Work Groups



Starfish is an early warning and student tracking system designed to increase student retention and success. This online platform allows faculty to provide students with direct feedback about their course performance in the form of kudos and messages.


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Guided Pathways FAQ

Find answers to your questions about Guided Pathways.

Guided Pathways FAQ

Guided Pathways Resources

Guided Pathways Resources

Find information researchers and other college communities have published when implementing Guided Pathways.

Guided Pathways Resources

Guided Pathways Archives

Guided Pathways Archives

Learn about the history behind Guided Pathways at CRC and find meeting notes from past discussions.

Guided Pathways Archives