Highline puts students on the right path

By Byron Patten - Staff Reporter



Like many Highline students, Isaac Cornejo is not sure what he wants to study.

"I have no clue unfortunately," he said. "I've been here for three years trying to explore my options and different courses."

With more than a 100 degree and certificate options, students can be overwhelmed in selecting the right one for them.

"It would help to know what I want and need, be a life saver really," Cornejo said. "It's stressful to single out your future like that."

In response to students such as Cornejo, Highline has streamlined its efforts to help students work towards their education goals.

With Highline's numerous degree and certificate options, the addition of Highline Pathways introduces six new sectors to organize these programs and help students navigate their studies.

Programs will now fall under subjects of: Arts and Communication; Business; Education and Library Services; Health and Wellness; Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics; on People and Communities.

The academics that fall under each pathway will in some way be relevant to the general topic, i.e. a retail management degree is part of the Business pathway.

The decision to move to Pathways isn't only occurring at Highline.

"The idea came from a statewide conference board call," said Jennifer Scanlon, director of Advising and High School Programs. "It is something all colleges are being asked to do."

The installation of Pathways, however, is not all the same throughout each college in the state.

"Highline has provided our six pathways based on current classes and programs, but a school like Green River might offer different pathways," Scanlon said.

"The goal is to have students start looking at the future sooner," Scanlon said. "By having Pathways, we are ensuring students take courses they need instead of random, unnecessary ones."

A student's pathway will inform them of the possible routes they have at Highline, including what degrees are transferrable to other institutions and what certificates fall under each subject.

To place uncertain people on their proper pathway, new student orientations will include a skill and interest test.

"For students that know what they want to study and do for a career, they're set," Scanlon said. "For those that are undecided, this will help them to identify their passions and begin exploring related academia or career fields."

Besides altering the orientation process, Highline has also implemented Pathways into its advising.

"We want to pair students with an adviser that knows the field," Scanlon said.

The act of pairing advisers to a student has been around at Highline, but only for specific programs. Now, students who are unsure of their exact program will have at the least an adviser familiar in their pathway.

"Advisers based on Pathways or program offer a lot of aid to students," Scanlon said.

"Essentially we're pairing you with someone you can talk to and ask questions to about your future career options, helping you narrow the playing field."

Cornejo says he is hopeful the Pathways program will help him map out a plan for his academic future.

"Having some guidance in navigating can make a huge difference, I think," he said. "I look forward to seeing how Pathways will help us find our degree."

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