Guided Pathways

Many of you have heard the term Guided Pathways and may be asking, “what is it”? or even, “don’t we already have pathways at Cypress”? In this blog installment, I will try to explain what Guided Pathways is, what it isn’t, and what you can expect in the coming months.

The Guided Pathways approach asks colleges to look at current processes from a student’s perspective. For example, how easy is it for a student to get information, navigate the necessary processes required to enroll, to complete a degree or certificate, and/or understand how to succeed at Cypress College. How well do staff and faculty in different divisions interact on behalf of the students, and do you even know how a student accesses support services outside your own work area?

For a brief tutorial about Guided Pathways, please check out this informational video:

Students: – In the Discussion Board at the end of this blog, tell us where you feel you struggle at Cypress. Is it during enrollment? Trying to get classes? Talking with your instructor or counselor? Finding your way to the various support offices on campus? Receiving communication?

The Four Pillars of Guided Pathways

This year will be a Guided Pathways implementation year. Cypress will be engaging in conversation with all employees and, especially, students, on various topics ranging from:

Clarifying the Path (how a student understands the pathway options available to him/her);

Entering the Path (how easy is it to apply, enroll, choose his/her major, establish an educational plan, meet counselors, faculty and other students);

Staying on the Path (at what point do students struggle and why?);

Ensuring Learning (what happens in the classroom that helps students understand the connection between learning, completion, and career).

Faculty and Staff: In the Discussion Board below, tell us when you think students start falling off their path?

Funding for Guided Pathways

The State of California has dedicated funds to help the college create clearer pathways. Cypress can expect approximately one million dollars over five years. Here’s how we become eligible for this funding:

Meta Majors

One of the main cornerstones of Guided Pathways is the creation of Meta Majors. The “majors” are really Areas of Interest and students declare a Meta Major before declaring a specific major. An example of a Meta Major might be “Health and Wellness” – within that Meta Major might be all the health degrees and certificates, but also psychology, human services, and some kinesiology degrees. Advising, tutoring, specific general education courses, and other support services will be designed to assist students in this area of interest.

Cypress will be creating these Meta Majors, with the input of students and staff, during the 2017-18 year, with the goal of having these in place for students by fall 2018.

Next Steps

During the fall 2017 semester, we will be initiating conversations across campus on the following topics:

  • Meta Majors
  • Communication and Marketing
  • Using Technology to Engage Students
  • Just in Time Assistance and Student Momentum Points

This is an exciting time at our college and we look forward to building upon the academic excellence that exists at Cypress in order to ensure students receive the best educational experience available anywhere.

Tell Us What You Think

We welcome your feedback in the discussion boards below. Buen Cypress!




  1. I believe that Guided Paths is going to help more students in their education because there are too many stories of students who do not know where to start. In the video someone said “it use to be that students need to be ready for college but now college is going to be ready for students” or something a long those lines and I think that is incredible. Just starting college is hard but the struggle is even worst to those students who are first generation, they don’t have a clue to what is the criteria that is require to full fill. Not being able to even start a education discourages students to keep going and I can speak about it because I was in that position at some point of my education. Guided Paths is going to make an impact on the students. I also believe that making Cypress College a unique school from others is going to encourage more students to attend to our school. I been in classrooms where there are paintings, posters or pictures on the wall with and without positive quotes and students have said that being in that type of classroom encourages them to keep moving forward in their education. A suggestion will be painting the classrooms with different types of colors and that will make a small difference in the students. Small changes make big differences and making this changes, will help the students and the school become successful.

  2. To use the travel analogy in the YouTube video, students end up at either the wrong destination or arrive late because of circumstances out of their control. They have a “ticket” to their destination but the plane has been overbooked and they must either wait for another later “plane” or cancel their trip entirely.

    The problem is extremely complex for the student in that their “guided pathway” is also linked to their financial aid award and Satisfactory Academic Progress. Students fall off their path when the class(es) they need to graduate is not available, especially when it is not available repeatedly. Students are forced to take a class in which they might not have any interest, or need to graduate, in order to retain their financial aid. Additionally, if they exhaust their financial aid taking classes they don’t need they will be denied financial aid when they transfer to a 4-year university.

    We as a college need to address students’ needs holistically rather than piecemeal to ensure their greatest success.

  3. Thank you Dr. Schilling for creating this enriching platform. Being a freeway flyer, career counselor I am fortunate to be part of COC and LA Mission’s Meta Major/ First Year Promise Program. At the moment they are in their pilot face. It’s a breathing program with many moving parts. I’m exciting to be part of this movement with Cypress Family.

  4. I am very excited about Guided Pathways. At Cypress we are already doing many wonderful things to support students but there is much more that can be done to help clarify the path to success. I look forward to implementing this program

  5. What if we were to look at the college and its students through the lens of a business owner. Instead of college and student, business and customer. This is not a far stretch considering we as a college are concerned with FTE’s which equals dollars as well as student success.

    To keep it simple, in order for a business to be successful it has to tailor its services to its customers so they will become repeat customers (because it is much easier to be able to forecast, predict, and plan based on our “regulars” than to rely on soliciting new customers each semester). Therefore, we need to get to know our customers “holistically” and find out what products they would like for us to carry so they can continue to patronize our business. Also, the best advertisement is word of mouth. If we are running our business by keeping it customer focused, the word will spread. I never see Nordstrom advertisements or mailers, but somehow they have a strong customer base.

Comments are closed.