Understanding the Student Journey

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Each student at Porterville College follows their own unique journey, but these journeys all share common stages. By understanding these stages, you can be aware of what to expect in the process during your time here. As defined at Porterville College, the Student Journey journey contains the following key stages: Guided Entry, Following the Path, and Guided Exit. These stages parallel the language in a national educational movement called Guided Pathways. The key language for these and related concepts is explained below the Student Journey diagram:

map of academic pathways

The Student Journey

The Student Journey refers to the experience all students will have at PC, starting from their initial contact with the college prior to registering for the first semester of classes, all the way to graduation and their successful exit from their PC program(s) to their career or transfer goals.

Guided Entry

Students begin their student journey at PC by meeting with counselors, instructional faculty, and other staff who can answer their questions and help direct them to the path best suited to their career and educational goals. Through campus events and orientation, students will ideally start their first semester of classes already having learned about the college and its services, and having received guidance in selecting their first semester of courses that may include a combination of general education courses and courses in their expressed area of interest.

Academic and Career Pathways

Academic and Career Pathways are general areas of interest and study at PC. Each individual Academic and Career pathway contains a group of related programs. Students who have not decided on a specific major when they begin their student journey at PC might start by choosing a pathway, and then exploring the academic and career options within it with the help of their Pathway Teams until they choose a path.

Pathway Teams

Pathway Teams are teams composed of instructional faculty, counselor faculty, educational advisors, student peer mentors, and administrators who all specialize in a particular Academic and Career Pathway and guide students through the pathway while on their journey by advising students, connecting students with others in their areas of interest, representing their pathway in campus and community events, and teaching pathway-based student success courses. With four Academic and Career Pathways at PC, there are also four Pathway Teams – look for them at campus events, and on campus during scheduled office hours, when they are available to meet with students to address any concerns students may have, and help direct them to the appropriate campus staff or resources.


Checkpoints are points in time on the student journey where a student should complete a task, attend an event, or check-in with a Pathway Team, counselor, or other support staff. Examples of checkpoints might include completing a Student Education Plan (SEP), or filing a petition for graduation. Some checkpoints apply to all students, and some are unique to the requirements of a specific program. So while not every student needs to stop at every checkpoint, it is important to know which checkpoints apply to you, and to ensure those checkpoints are not overlooked on your journey. Completing them at the right time and in the right order will help ensure the success of your journey.

Following the Path

A student’s time at PC involves following the path they have chosen in cooperation with their Pathway Team, and their individualized education plan created with a counselor or education advisor. Following the Path means completing the courses required for a degree program at the planned pace necessary to reach their anticipated graduation target date, as well as reaching the key checkpoints along the path, and planning ahead after completing their chosen program(s) and preparation for graduation and their career and/or transfer goals.

Guided Exit

In addition to the successful completion of all course requirements for their chosen program(s), a successful student Guided Exit will include (as appropriate) a visit to the college Transfer Center and/or the Jobs Center, as well as graduation and ideally participation in the college Commencement Ceremony, followed by entry to a transfer institution to continue their education or enter the workforce in a career aligned to their life goals. When a student has completed their journey at PC, we want to celebrate them!