With enrollments down statewide — largely attributed to the COVID pandemic — California’s community colleges are exploring new ways of utilizing the CCC MyPath (MyPath) student onboarding tool to engage prospective students who might need extra assistance.
MyPath provides automated, task-based guidance to help students navigate the post-application portion of the enrollment process. Adopted at 64 colleges systemwide, MyPath to date has helped students complete more than 1.5 million general onboarding tasks — freeing up counseling and student services staff to focus on more in-depth conversations with students.
Colleges are now employing MyPath’s customization features to reach students that have more specific needs or questions, whether they are just entering college, thinking about applying or returning or preparing to graduate or transfer.
This story highlights three different approaches to MyPath customization used by Antelope Valley College, Compton College and Coastline College. These approaches outline how MyPath can be used as part of an outreach campaign to bring back students whose enrollment may have lapsed due to pandemic-related campus closures or other life changes.
Dual Paths to MyPath
Typically, students enter the MyPath onboarding process after submitting an application via CCCApply. Antelope Valley College (AVC) chose to use a different approach, instead offering dual MyPath experiences — one for students to complete onboarding tasks and a separate, basic version to serve as an exploratory resource for those still deciding whether to apply. Prospective students can choose either path by clicking a link on the college’s Apply Online landing page.
“The discussions we had were around how do we differentiate the audience MyPath addresses, because not every student will need the same information,” said Rick Shaw, AVC’s Chief Information Systems Officer. “The landing page now provides that dual path.”
Nathan Dillon, full-time faculty and co-chair of AVC’s Guided Pathways committee, added that the main goal was to make the whole process as simple as possible for prospective students.
“We didn’t want to put up barriers for students who are ready to apply, but we also know some students will want more guidance,” Dillon said. “MyPath lets them do some career exploration before they apply.”
Dillon, who teaches Performing Arts, collaborated with colleagues in the Film and Television department to produce a short video featured on the Apply Online page. In the video, an AVC student explains that clicking the “Thinking About Applying?” link will allow students to enter MyPath and learn more about pathways to make an informed decision. Students may begin the application process when they are ready by accessing the online application from a link on the college website or at any time from within MyPath.
Student Service Showcase
Compton College wanted to give more support and encouragement to previously incarcerated students who are reentering society. As the CCCApply application doesn’t ask for this type of history, the solution was to create a MyPath advisor card that would be visible to all students, along with custom content about the Formerly Incarcerated Student Transition (FIST) program and the college’s Second Chance Scholarship.
When a student clicks the advisor card link, it opens to a custom MyPath page providing some basic information about FIST and the scholarship. The page also showcases student success stories to give previously incarcerated students hope, and encourage them to pursue their dreams.
Helping Students Prepare to Apply
Coastline College came to realize that prospective students weren’t completing the CCCApply application, often because they didn’t have the necessary information at hand — such as grades for the highest level of English and math classes, military and veteran forms, or foster care documentation. According to student success metrics tracked by the CCC Chancellor’s Office, 42.4 percent of students who apply to Coastline actually enroll at the college.
As a way to increase this percentage, Coastline launched MyPath on Feb. 8, 2021, to provide information and resources to incoming students and bridge the gap between the online application and the college. Students who apply to Coastline via CCCApply are directed to MyPath through their application confirmation page and will see a personalized set of “advisor cards” that walk students through the steps they need to take to enroll in courses. The cards further provide targeted resources based on the information the student provides in their application.
For those struggling to complete the application, a Getting Started advisor card was created that directs students before they apply to a custom MyPath webpage that explains the application process, according to Beth Knowles, an implementation configuration engineer with the CCC Technology Center who works directly with college staff on their MyPath customizations. The page presents a checklist of information applicants need to have ready when they apply, along with screenshots of sections in the application where the information is required.
“As a college, we believe the implementation of MyPath will simplify the process of enrollment post-application and ensure students learn about the resources and services offered by the college to support their academic journey,” said Dr. Chermaine Harrell, Dean of Enrollment Services & Extended Learning at Coastline College.
From February to June, the 5,156 students who applied to Coastline completed a total of 24,438 onboarding tasks through the MyPath platform, an average of 4,888 tasks completed per month.
MyPath can also be used as part of an outreach campaign to bring back students whose enrollment may have lapsed due to pandemic-related campus closures or other life changes. In a recent webinar, Beth Knowles, an implementation support specialist with the California Community Colleges Technology Center, described how this could be designed.
First, a targeted list of students can be generated by parsing data stored in the CCCApply Report Center. Then, using email addresses provided by students during the application process , colleges can reach out to encourage those students to consider coming back to school. Additionally, a link in the email could direct students to MyPath to re-enroll or learn more about applicable support services.
MyPath also serves up personalized tasks via advisor cards which are generated based on information the student provided to CCCApply. As an augmentation of the advisor cards, colleges can create custom MyPath pages to highlight a service, provide detailed instructions for completing a task or present additional information such as graduation/transfer checklists that may not be available on the college’s website. These custom pages, called CMS portlets, are designed using a simple editor and reside within MyPath itself, so no web development resources are needed.
MyPath also has a built-in document gathering feature that lets students upload documents for given tasks. Uploaded documents are tagged with the student’s CCCID and a category identifier, allowing colleges to easily organize and search documents for each student.
To learn more about CCC MyPath and the ways it can be customized to help your students succeed, please contact your College Relationship Manager or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.