1.5 Program Structure & Requirements
With these objectives in mind, PathwayConnect has been designed in a way that eases students into college life and prepares them to be successful —academically, socially, and spiritually.
The program consists of three semesters and lasts for one full academic year:
- Fall Semester (September–December)
- Winter Semester (January–April)
- Spring Semester (April–July)
During PathwayConnect, students take a prescribed curriculum of just one online academic course (see 3.2 Course Sequence) each semester. These online courses are taught by qualified and trained instructors, require peer-to-peer interaction, and help students gain leadership skills. In addition, most students also take one religion course each semester either from their local institute or online through BYU-Idaho, deepening their learning of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
PathwayConnect is primarily targeted to — and built around — 18–30-year-old young adult Church members who have little to no previous college experience and who face a variety of obstacles, such as insufficient finances, lack of confidence, limited skills, lack of quality local educational options, low English proficiency, and/or busy schedules. However, all Church members may participate in the program if they are eligible and if it is established in their local area (see 2.2 Admission Requirements).
In addition to taking courses online, students are also required to participate in a weekly gathering (or gatherings) every Thursday night during PathwayConnect. Students come having already completed coursework and are prepared to actively participate in meaningful discussion and learning activities with their peers. Students also gain valuable leadership skills by being a “lead student,” in which they utilize a lesson plan and lead gathering activities and discussion one or more times during their PathwayConnect experience (see 5.4.1 Lead Students).
Elder David A. Bednar shared the following about the importance of gathering for BYU-Idaho students:
“This spirit of gathering brings assurance, encouragement, and a sense of purpose greater than self. At BYU-Idaho you gather to worship the Father in the name of the Son, to build up the Church and the university, to find defense and protection, and to receive counsel and instruction. You gather together to learn and to prepare for your mortal and eternal opportunities and responsibilities. You gather together to strengthen each other. You gather together to develop appropriate relationships and to create eternal families. You gather together to increase in understanding about the purpose and measure of your creation.” “The Spirit and Purpose of Gathering,” David A. Bednar, BYU-Idaho Devotional, Oct. 31, 2006.
For these reasons and many others, weekly PathwayConnect gatherings are one of the most fundamental aspects of the program. Many students who have been involved have reported an increase in confidence, a renewed desire to learn, as well as significant spiritual benefits such as more frequent and meaningful scripture study and prayer, increased church attendance, and better family relationships (see 5.0 Gatherings).
PathwayConnect offers two versions:
- Standard (for native or near-native English speakers)
- L (for non-native English speakers).
Visit the PathwayConnect Locations page to see which versions are available at individual PathwayConnect sites.
When admitted to PathwayConnect, students are assigned to a group and gather weekly with that group throughout the program. Groups are built in the following ways:
|Age 18–30 Group||Age 31+ Group|
|Young adults age 18–30; typically gather at a local institute facility||Adults age 31+; typically gather at a local stake center or meetinghouse|
As an added support, local priesthood and auxiliary leaders, institute coordinators, and PathwayConnect Church-service missionaries facilitate the on-site affairs of the program and ensure its ongoing success.
PathwayConnect missionaries play one of the most vital roles — that of helping and caring for the students. Missionaries do not teach the course material, but rather focus on building the program by: fostering relationships with local priesthood leaders, finding new students, monitoring student academic success, providing help and encouragement, and overseeing weekly PathwayConnect gatherings. Above all, the missionaries cheer PathwayConnect students on to success and encourage them to reach their potential by working hard, seeking the Lord’s guidance, and embracing new opportunities (see 7.2 Role of Pathway Church-Service Missionaries).
Priesthood support is also key at each individual PathwayConnect location. Local leaders are asked to help sustain the program and assist in the process of identifying Church members who could potentially benefit from PathwayConnect’s educational and spiritual blessings. Missionaries spend considerable time educating priesthood leaders about PathwayConnect and helping them see how it can assist them in their ministry (see 7.1 Role of Local Leaders).
For many students, completing PathwayConnect will mean fulfilling a dream and may be the completion of their educational experience. While for other students, PathwayConnect is only the beginning.
At the end of PathwayConnect, students will have earned BYU-Idaho credit and qualify to earn a Pathway Completion Certificate (see 6.4 Pathway Certificate). If they desire, students may go on to further their education by applying to a local college, university, or trade school — or by enrolling in the BYU-Idaho Online Degree Program (see 11.1.1 Admission Requirements).
To be eligible for the Online Degree Program, PathwayConnect students must do the following:
- Finish all three semesters of PathwayConnect
- Achieve a “B” average (3.0 GPA or 84%) during PathwayConnect
- Complete an application for the BYU-Idaho Online Degree Program, including an ecclesiastical endorsement
Once admitted to the Online Degree Program, students may progress toward a variety of educational options, including professional certificates, associate degrees, and/or bachelor’s degrees (see 11.0 After PathwayConnect).
PathwayConnect is offered at less than half the cost of a traditional BYU-Idaho education. Tuition rates vary by country. Besides tuition, there are no additional costs during PathwayConnect, including textbooks or course fees.
Students who matriculate into BYU-Idaho’s Online Degree Program will continue to pay the PathwayConnect tuition rate throughout the duration of their education (tuition may increase annually). However, additional fees for textbooks or other course materials will apply (see 11.1.3 Tuition and Financial Aid).