Pathways Early College Innovation School

MWCC Pathways Students at Graduation

Why Choose Pathways?

  • Pathways LogoYou’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


Your High School Junior is Our College Freshman!

MWCC Pathways StudentsMount Wachusett Community College is pleased to partner with the Ralph C. Mahar Regional School District to offer an 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.

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.


  • 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


  • Reside in Massachusetts
  • Possess a minimum high school GPA of 3.0 (cumulative, based on a 4.0 scale)
  • Be at least 16 years old and entering Grade 11 by the start of the fall semester
  • Be recommended by the sending school
  • Complete the Pathways application process
  • Take the Accuplacer exam.
    • Applicants must place into college level English 101.
    • The minimum math placement to be considered is MAT096, however the average accepted applicant places into college level math courses.
  • Be willing to enroll in classes during all available MWCC semesters, including Fall, Intersession, Spring, Maymester, and Summer sessions, in order to complete diploma and associate degree requirements during the program

MWCC Pathways Students

Eligible students must: All accepted Pathways Early College Innovation School students must participate in a mandatory three day event 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.

NOTE: Students who have not passed MCAS will be scheduled to take the appropriate test at MWCC.

Application Process

Admission into this program is a competitive process. In order to be eligible for the program, applicants must attend an information session, complete placement testing, submit a complete application with three essays and be interviewed by the Pathways Early College Innovation School director prior to the fall semester. Complete applications are reviewed on a first-come, first served basis.


Students are responsible for their own transportation. The MWCC Gardner campus is on the MART route and schedules are available in the admissions office or online at

Students who have a disability or may require accommodations to participate fully in program activities should contact the director, Natalie Mercier, to discuss their needs (978-630-9480).

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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