Northern Virginia Community College Pathway to the Baccalaureate

Name of Community College  Northern Virginia Community College

Title of Program Pathway to the Baccalaureate

Type of Program (i.e. ESL, workforce training/career development, community outreach/partnership, providing access/support to undocumented students, citizenship/civics preparation, etc)  Improving college readiness and college completion.  Long range college counseling and support services

Primary Division(s) or Department(s) involved: 

The Pathway consortium consisting of Fairfax and Loudoun County Public Schools, Northern Virginia Community College and George Mason University

1. Need for Program  

The introductory component of the Pathway program, recently dubbed “fast-track remediation,” focuses on strengthening English writing skills. While many of the students excel at speaking and listening English, they lack the grammar and sentence structure needed for college-level writing. If they pass this introductory English writing class, they avoid wasting time and tuition on a remedial English class that will not count toward a college degree.

2. Brief Description of Program 

Pathways helps immigrant students to transition from high school, to NOVA, and then to George Mason University and other four-year institutions. The program offers a student-centered approach, long-range college counseling and support services, and a guarantee of continuing support and financial assistance to complete a four-year degree.

Admission to the Pathway to the Baccalaureate Program and admission to Northern Virginia Community College are two separate admissions processes. Pathway students are advised to complete the NOVA application (and FAFSA, if required) together with their Pathway Counselor in the spring semester of the senior year of high school.

3. Specific Population Served

Around 6000 students are enrolled through Pathways, many of whom are low income immigrant students.

 4. Goals and Objectives 

  • Successful transition from high school directly into post-secondary education.
  • Retention from first to the second semester.
  • Retention re retained from year to year.
  • Maintain good academic standing
  • Earn transferable credits in first year of college.
  • Participating in Financial aid.
  • Graduation from community college

5.  Outcomes 

Despite the fact that Pathway students tend to be poorer, are more likely to be immigrants or children of immigrants, and are more likely to have disabilities (30 percent of Pathway students have disabilities, compared to 10 percent in the college’s general student population), than the comparison sample from outside the Pathway program, they tend to show higher retention rates and better grades. Pathway students are outperforming their peers on measures of retention, grade point average, and graduation rate.


Fairfax and Loudoun County Public Schools and George Mason University

7.  Success Factors  

Pathway offers a supportive environment to facilitate the successful transition, retention, graduation and transfer of participating students from high school, through NOVA and on to a university of the student’s choice. Students in the program receive ongoing counseling, programming, and student support services using a developmental advising model administered through a one-stop, case management approach.

Admission to the Pathway to the Baccalaureate Program is selective and open to current high school seniors at participating public high schools in Alexandria City, Arlington, Fairfax, Falls Church City, Loudoun, Manassas City, Manassas Park City and Prince William County. Application deadlines typically range between early November and early December of the senior year of high school.

8. Challenges Faced and Overcome

9. Funding and Sustainability

Program operates under ashared-cost operational model

10. Contact Information

Northern Virginia Community College
Annandale, VA
Elizabeth P. Harper, Associate Vice President for Student Services & Enrollment Management