Pathways Early College Experience

What is Pathways Early College Experience?

Pathways LogoMount Wachusett Community College is pleased to offer this Early College High School opportunity to motivated students who would like to get a jump start on college. The goal of Pathways is to provide 20 high school students, per year, the opportunity to earn their high school diploma and an Associate degree while completing their junior and senior year taking courses at MWCC. The primary goals of this initiative are:

  • To address the needs of motivated students who would like to enroll in college courses prior to high school graduation.
  • To boost enrollment and retention of diverse student populations.
  • To graduate students with a high school diploma and an Associate degree.
  • To allow students the opportunity to fulfill their educational dreams.

Why should you choose Pathways Early College?

  • You’re ready for the academic challenge and rigor of college courses.
  • You want to earn an Associate Degree while completing high school.
  • You’re prepared to integrate into the intellectual, social and academic environment of a college campus.

“I came to Pathways because I feel that it is a jump-start for getting prepared for the real world, it gives me skills that I will use for the rest of my life. Truly, the opportunity to get a college degree early is an honor and a privilege! If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it.”


What does Pathways Early College Cost?

  • The Pathways program covers the cost of course tuition and fees for enrolled students.
  • Students are responsible for their books and school supplies.
  • Current high school students are ineligible to receive federal financial aid.
  • Pathways Early College Experience is funded through school choice funds from the Gardner Public School District and administered by Mount Wachusett Community College.

Are you eligible for Pathways Early College?

You are if you:

  • Reside in Massachusetts,
  • Possess a minimum high school GPA of 3.0 (cumulative, based on a 4.0 scale),
  • Are at least 16 years old and entering Grade 11 by the start of the fall semester,
  • Are recommended by the sending school,
  • Complete the Pathways application process,
  • Take the Accuplacer exam.*For fall 2021 applicants placement will be determined by multiple measures. The Accuplacer exam is unavailable at this time.
    • Applicants must place into college-level English 101.
    • The minimum math placement to be considered is MAT143/093.
  • Be willing to enroll in classes during all available MWCC semesters, including Fall, Intersession, Spring, and Summer sessions, in order to complete the diploma and associate degree requirements during the program.

MWCC Pathways Students

All accepted Pathways Early College Experience students must participate in a mandatory three-day event at the end of August that includes Leadership Academy and Pathways Orientation. This helps students become more comfortable in their new college community, learn about expectations, policies and procedures established a solid foundation and form a bond with other students in their cohort.

Students must fulfill all state and educational requirements to meet high school diploma and associate degree requirements, which also includes passing the MCAS. All Pathways students are considered Mount Wachusett Community College students and have access to MWCC services including counseling, advising, career services, fitness center, and leadership activities offered by Student Life.  Students who have not passed MCAS will be scheduled to take the appropriate test at MWCC.

Pathways Virtual Information Sessions

Info Sessions for applicants interested in applying for fall are held during the spring semester.  Students must be entering their junior year in the fall to be considered for the program.  Please see below for further eligibility criteria. During the application season, applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. The deadline for application is in June. All applicants are required to attend an informational session and complete the Accuplacer exam to be considered for the program. 

Virtual Information Sessions for fall 2021 applications.

Contact or call 978-630-9578 to sign up for an information session. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. All applications must be submitted by June 30th.

  • Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. The final deadline is June 30, 2021
  • Applicants must attend an info session and complete the Accuplacer exam to be considered for the program.
  • Call 978-630-9248 to sign up for an information session.

Pathways Early College Experience Application 2021

If you have a disability and require accommodations to participate in the information session, please contact the office of Access & Transition at 978-630-9248.

Rachel Vargeletis Shares Her Pathways Story

Rachel wasn’t being challenged by her high school classes and felt that the high school environment wasn’t a good fit for her. As a rising high school junior, she began college classes in the Mount Pathways program. She simultaneously graduated from college with an associate’s degree and from high school with a high school diploma.
"My experience with Pathways has been nothing but amazing. It really has transformed my life completely. I think about if I hadn’t entered Pathways, where I’d be right now, and it is literally a different life I’d be living."

Rachel Vargeletis, 2017, Human Services (Pathways Student)

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