History and Goals
Pathways to College is a program designed to meet the needs of students who may not ordinarily be exposed to the idea of higher education. The program was brought to fruition six years ago to benefit the K-5th students of Fern Creek Elementary School. In the beginning, the program was focused on providing exposure to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) to the students outside of the Fern Creek campus. Grades K-2nd students were invited to campus in the fall semester, while grades 3th-5th students had their own pathways in the spring. The mission of the program now has taken on a broader theme, to promote enthusiasm for college as a future goal in the lives of all students. More specifically, the Rollins community hopes to make K-12th students aware of the importance of college, and to prepare older students for their future matriculation at the college or university of their choice. As of the 2010-2011, the pathways program expanded from two Pathways programs per academic year to an impressive six, with K-10th grade students able to engage the Rollins community and get excited about their academic futures. With this expansion, a model needed to be created to address the needs of all students, grades K-12th.
This model has become known as the Awareness to Preparedness Model.
Due to the nature of the Pathways program and the population the Office of Community Engagement (OCE) hopes to serve, the direction of the model will address all students, but mostly the K-8th grade population. The goal is to offer students with little to no knowledge of college, the opportunity to explore the Rollins campus and familiarize themselves with the “buzz words of college,” major, minor, study abroad, residence hall, etc. It has been noted that students as young as five leave a Pathways to College day more conscientious of their academic future and more enthusiastic about it. More importantly a supportive atmosphere is created that allows students to finally recognize and accept that college is within reach.
Preparedness concerns the 8th-12th grade population. At this stage, not only will OCE be exposing students to the campus and Rollins community members, but to purposeful student/staff panels, print materials, websites, and in-classroom experiences. It is acknowledged that some of these students may be at the beginning of the spectrum, needing more time spent on “key college buzz words” and the structure of a campus culture. Nevertheless, it should always be assumed that with this student group, college applications and SATs/ACTs are just around the corner so awareness must strongly be coupled with preparedness.
In order for the awareness to preparedness model to be successful it is important that the community partner that wishes to participate in the Pathways program, disclose the necessary information needed to make the program a success. The information needed will be listed on the Pathways to College application. Schools, programs, and nonprofit organizations that seek out this event must be willing to work hand-in-hand with OCE, in order to provide the most impactful experience possible for their students. Schools must provide pre-trip lessons regarding college access, which can be provided by the Rollins lesson plans.
To access the Rollins lesson plans, click here.
If you wish to request a Pathways day for your educaition institution, please fill out the request application.