Seniors on the Path to Life After High School


DHS Press Staff

Students gather to sign their contracts for the Pathways Program.

On Thursday sixty seniors gathered in the Media Center to sign their Pathways contracts for their future to go to NOVA.   The Pathways program is designed for seniors to find their path by going to NOVA.The program gives admission into NOVA for students to get their two year associate’s degree to then go to a university for another two years.

The Pathways program, established in 2006, is currently serving ten high schools in Loudoun County.  Program Transition counselor Shannon Nieves said, “We come in as a support program and we try to help students through barriers.” 

Admission to get into the program is not based on academic achievements or test scores, and no minimum GPA is required. Students have to fill out an online application, but there is an essay component where students can open up about any barriers that they might have. Nieves said, “On our application we ask sensitive questions, where students might indicate that they are immigrant students, or their parents never attended college.”  

Students who have filled out an application and got into the program at school said that it was a pretty easy process. Maria Benavides said, “It wasn’t difficult at all, I just filled out an application then maybe three months later they told me I got in.” Students were recommended for this program from the Career Center by Mr. Navidad.

The Pathways Program also helps students who are still deciding what they want to do.  Raida Rahman remarked, “It’s really good if you are still deciding, it was my backup.” Also people decided to join the Pathways program because it was a less expensive alternative. Cindy Vigil said, “NOVA is simply just cheaper, and you get the same education as a four year university.”

The program is active throughout Northern Virginia.  Pathways receives about 80 to 100 applications from just Dominion. Nieves said, “We do not deny people we refer them to a different program into NOVA.”