• Our Philosophy


The success of Pathways to College is built on a simple premise: that a small number of capable students and committed instructional leaders can:

* Change children’s lives
* Develop better teachers
* Positively impact entire communities

Pathways provides a safe place to be smart, where caring teachers help interested and motivated students of color develop the skills and habits of mind that research indicates are critical to academic and career success. Working as a team in our School-Based Scholars Program, over time, Scholars and teachers help raise the aspirations and expectations of their peers throughout the school and community.

Pathways to LearningPathways to Leadership
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Pathways to College

Pathways to Learning

The Pathways to College approach to learning is based on establishing a family-type setting of teachers and learners where students have exciting opportunities to experience, explore and quietly reflect, thereby developing and practicing the habits of life-long learners.

The Curriculum Outline that guides our teachers includes such items as: learning and research; asking thoughtful questions; big-picture thinking; exploring careers and the culture of the workplace; and becoming a citizen of the world – ideas that encourage curiosity, problem-solving and personal initiative.

Class sessions revolve around sharing and developing ideas through class discussion and teamwork, and building critical thinking, speaking and writing skills. Guest speakers and trips to college campuses are important components.

Pathways to College

Pathways to Leadership

We ask and expect our Scholars to become “courageous leaders” – in school, at home and in their communities.

Courageous Leadership

We work at preparing them to do so by providing experiences that not only help them to succeed in high school and college, but also help them encourage real change in their worlds. They learn to analyze, to think critically, to develop plans and set goals. They learn critical thinking, speaking, writing and real-world problem-solving skills; they develop self-confidence and a sense of purpose.

Their successes provide opportunities for these students and their teacher-coaches to raise the aspirations and expectations of their peers. Combined with their success in college, our Scholars can begin to positively impact the culture of the entire school. Together, the team of teachers and students become primary agents for changing the school atmosphere to one in which more and more students see the potential inherent in pursuing a college education. In Pathways high schools, slowly but steadily, it becomes “cool” to be smart.”

Pathways to College
Pathways to College

Pathways to Teacher Development

From a pool initially identified by students, we hire up to four of the most effective teachers in each participating school. These teachers provide coaching support, targeting the critical life skills and intellectual habits of mind that research tells us are essential to prepare for and succeed, academically and personally in college and beyond.

Our program includes a strong professional development component for the Pathways teachers, most of whom find the Pathways approach new and all of whom find it exciting. Ongoing professional development activities encourage and enthuse our teachers, who utilize methodologies, materials, ideas and successes not only in their daily teaching assignments, but also share them with their colleagues. Our goals for teachers include developing teamwork, motivation and mentoring skills; actively encouraging and rewarding creativity and innovation, and creating a setting in which all members of the Pathways to College family – Scholars and teachers alike — are listened to and treated with respect and consideration.

"This Professional Development is fantastic! A wealth of knowledge, passion and enthusiasm exists in this phenomenal organization."

- Gary

Pathways to College


Pathways to College teachers employ intensive individual and group encouraging/coaching activities to assure the Scholars’ success in several key areas, for:

Personal Development

Personal development, to increase students' interest and participation as school leaders. They help students to identify and seek leadership positions; to establish eligibility and apply for honors, awards and scholarships, and to engage with their peers to inspire and encourage academic excellence.

Commitment to Success

College access and persistence to graduation, including college exploration, selection, application, entrance and completion. Students are coached to explore career opportunities, to seek access to role models, to be good mentees and to serve as mentors to others, and to reach for competitive college admission when seeking their “personal best college.”

Critical Skills

Skills critical to academic and career success, such as studying, goal setting and achievement; strategic thinking, writing, speaking and presentation skills; learning and research; and becoming well informed and aware “citizens of the world.”

Our Founding Partner Colleges

Pathways invites colleges and universities to join its membership network, since they seek the kind of students with whom the program is working. Partner Colleges receive the names of those in our student pool, and support their aspirations by presenting information on their institutions. They may also create special programs for our Scholars and visit their high schools, such as attending “College Expos,” where they meet with the entire student body and present information sessions detailing such topics as what colleges seek in their applicants and what it takes to be a successful student.

Frequently Asked Questions


How Can My Child Become A Pathways to College Student?

Our School-based Scholars Program operates after school in partner schools and communities. If we are not currently available in your community, students in grades 9 – 11 can apply to our National Scholars Program. Please email nspscholars@pathwaystocollege.org or call 201-541-6803.

How Can We Get Pathways to College In Our School?

Pathways to College welcomes inquiries from prospective program sites. Our approach to establishing programs requires that we engage community leaders and funders. We encourage you to forward information about Pathways to College to your school superintendent, principal and other community leaders, and alert us so that we may follow up and alert us by emailing nspscholars@pathwaystocollege.org or calling 201-541-6803.