Until recently, most community colleges have done little through the new student onboarding process to help entering students explore academic and career interests, choose a program of study aligned to their interests, and develop a plan for completing such a program. This has been the case even though many students start college without clear goals or even a good sense of how academic programs are connected to particular career areas. Students can visit the campus career center for help-if
... are aware of this resource and choose to use it. But most students do not make use of the career center until they near graduation, if at all. And while students may be assigned an academic advisor and indeed may be required or encouraged to attend an advising session before or during their first term, advising is typically focused on selecting and registering for courses for the upcoming semester rather than on helping students explore interests, develop goals, and build an appropriate educational plan. While this characterizes the situation at many community colleges, those that are undertaking whole-college guided pathways reforms (see Jenkins, Lahr, Fink, & Ganga, 2018) are modifying the onboarding process to give entering students active support with exploration, goal-setting, and educational planning. This is Part 2 of a three-part packet designed to provide guidance to colleges seeking to redesign their new student onboarding practices. Part 1 of the packet reviews research on why the conventional community college approach to new student onboarding is often unsuccessful in helping students choose and plan a program; it also describes how some colleges are rethinking the onboarding process as part of larger guided pathways reforms. This second part summarizes students' experiences with, and reactions to, the onboarding process as it occurs at two Florida community colleges that have redesigned their onboarding practices for degree-seeking students: Indian River State College (IRSC) and St. Petersburg College (SPC). We organize the discussion around three key onboarding goals: helping students to (1) explore interests and programs of study, (2) gain experiences in a program so as to gain confidence in their selected pathway, and (3) engage in academic and career Community colleges undertaking guided pathways reforms are modifying the onboarding process to give entering students active support with exploration, goal-setting, and educational planning.