Pathways Early College Experience

What is Pathways Early College Experience?

Mount 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 school supplies and books, if lost or damaged.
  • 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,
  • Will be entering Grade 11 by the start of fall semester and are at least 16 years old,
  • Have a B or better average in high school Math and English,
  • Are recommended by your current high school or homeschool,
  • Be willing to enroll in classes during all available MWCC semesters, including Fall, Spring, and Summer sessions, in order to complete the diploma and associate degree requirements during the program.
  • Complete all pieces of the Pathways application.

MWCC Pathways Students

All accepted Pathways Early College Experience students must participate in a mandatory multi-day orientation at the end of August. This helps students become more comfortable in their new college community, learn about expectations, policies and procedures of the program, 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(a) at MWCC.

Pathways Information Sessions

Applications will open in late January and close at the end of June. Prospective students can fill out this form to register for an information session.

All sessions will be held from 6:00 to 7:00 pm

  • Jan 24, 2023 – Virtual on Zoom
  • Feb 21, 2023 – Virtual on Zoom
  • March 21, 2023 – Gardner Campus
  • April 18, 2023 – Virtual on Zoom
  • May 23, 2023 – Gardner Campus
  • June 20, 2023 – Virtual on Zoom

Contact or call 978-630-9578 to sign up for an information session. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.

  • Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. The final deadline is June 30, 2023
  • Call 978-630-9248 to sign up for an information session.

Click here for the Online Application

Click here to download: Pathways Early College Experience Application

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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