Guided Pathways Defined

Guided Pathways is a redesign of the college experience for students as we know it today, intended to help more people graduate. Some primary components include "meta-majors" and degree maps; predictable schedules; integrated developmental instruction; progress tracking, support and feedback for all students; and bridges for college programs. There are four primary "pillars" to the approach.

The Four Pillars

There are four essential practices within the Guided Pathways approach.

  1. Mapping pathways to student end goals
  2. Helping students choose and enter a pathway
  3. Keeping students on the path
  4. Ensuring that students are learning

  Learn more by reviewing LCC's initial self-assessment on our progress within each of the four pillars.

  Review the draft Work Plan Overview for a broad overview of timelines (LCC Google/network login required).


"Meta-majors" enhance rather than replace individual degrees and certificates. LCC's draft "meta-majors" include:

  • Accounting, Business & Information Technology
  • Arts & Communication
  • Education
  • Health & Wellness
  • Manufacturing, Trades & Transportation
  • Social Science, Humanities & Public Service
  • Science, Technology, Engineering & Math

  Draft map of meta-majors to LCC degree and certificate programs (LCC Google/network login required).

Funding for Guided Pathways

Lower Columbia College was selected along with four other institutions* in 2018 to receive $500,000 over five-years from College Spark Washington to implement the Guided Pathways approach. The State Board for Community and Technical Colleges matched the grant, bringing the five-year total to $1 million.

Patrick Henry Community College Presentation - Fall 2018

"We have spent the past 55 years making sure our students are college ready. We need to spend the next five making sure our colleges are student ready." - Dr. Greg Hodges, Fall 2018

Guided Pathways Resources

Top picks for faculty

Co-requisites and Developmental Education


Note: students in the Guided Pathways cohorts include first-time, first-ever, post-secondary credential-seeking students. They must be new to the institution and system; transfers-in and returning students are included if they've earned less than 10 college credits in the system; current and former basic skills students who transition to workforce or transfer are included if they start with less than 10 college level credits earned in the system. The Year 1 College Math point refers to any college level math course taken, regardless of program requirements.


Guided Pathways - Early Adopter Stories

Guided Pathways Framework

Holistic Integrated Student Support Systems

Math Reform Efforts

Program Pathway Mapping


Assessing Technology for Guided Pathways

Advising and Integrated Student Support Technology Resources

Research - General


Web Resources and eBooks

*Other colleges in "Cohort Two" include Clover Park Technical College, Renton Technical College, Spokane Falls Community College, and Tacoma Community College. "Cohort One" college includes Everett Community College, Peninsula College, Pierce College, South Puget South Community College, and South Seattle College.

Quotable Quotes

"The fact that some choice is good doesn't necessarily mean that more choice is better.

"As the number of choices keeps growing, negative aspects of having a multitude of options begin to appear. As the number of choices grows further, the negatives escalate until we become overloaded. At this point, choice no longer liberates, but debilitates."

- Barry Schwartz, The Paradox of Choice: Why Less is More

Guided Pathways


  Karen Joiner/Interim VP Instruction

   (360) 442-2651

  Sue Orchard/VP Student Services

   (360) 442-2301 

  Wendy Hall/VP Effectiveness & College Relations

   (360) 442-2491

Copyright 2018 Lower Columbia College | All Rights Reserved.