Tools for Redesigning Transitions in Guided Pathways

April 27, 2022

onboarding studentsCommunity colleges serve students from diverse backgrounds with varied experiences and resources. Although colleges may have clear onboarding support mechanisms for students graduating from local high schools, more systems design might be needed to provide that same support for students coming to the college via a non-traditional pathway. This might include students who’ve been out of high school for a few years and are inspired to go to college to pursue a new career or advance to the next, better job. Others might be attending an adult school to gain skills or strengthen their English proficiency and want to continue into college courses. Or students might be coming to college after service in the military or from incarceration. Recognizing the strengths and experiences that all students bring, as well as the supports they may need to transition to postsecondary education systems, is critical to ensuring success.

Redesigning transitions, with an emphasis on supporting students coming to college by non-traditional pathways, is the focus of the new unit of CLP’s Design Guide for Integrating Student Support. This online tool features guiding principles, key components, and a “Getting Started” section to help college teams navigate their own approach to transitions. You’ll also find examples from other colleges including: noncredit transitions at Mt. San Antonio College; credit for prior learning at Palomar College; foster youth transitions at Riverside Community College; and dual enrollment at Bakersfield College.

Other units in the online Design Guide cover key stages of the student’s journey: Onboarding, the First Year, Counseling, and Career Integration. CLP developed the content for each unit based on research and interviews with college leaders to learn how they are working to more proactively support students–by meeting students where they are, with support when they need it. The goal is to provide college leaders with tools and resources that are easy to apply in the context of college redesign efforts.

Share Your Story, Give Us Feedback

This Design Guide will continue to evolve and grow with the field. If you have a story of a transformation your college has recently implemented through guided pathways redesign efforts, we’d love to hear it!

Submit your story now or navigate to the “Your Story” section in the menu of the Design Guide and tell us about your college’s redesign work.


The Design Guide was developed by CLP with funding from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office.