International Student Pathway

As a PCC student, you'll be part of our award winning First Year Pathways program. It includes several components that are designed to help you succeed.


When you arrive at PCC, you will have one week of activities with the International Student Center. You will then join iJam, a one-week orientation to help you get ready for your studies. This program is required of all new international students. During iJam you’ll learn about American college life, prepare for your classes, and make friends with other students from around the world. There will also be time to relax and have fun in Pasadena and Los Angeles.

Student Success Team


As a Pathways student, you’ll will be able to meet with counselors, coaches, and tutors who are dedicated to helping you succeed in and out of the classroom.

  • Counselors will work with you to create an education plan to prepare you for transfer to a four-year university.
  • Coaches will answer your questions about life on and off campus and direct you to valuable resources and services.
  • Tutors will help you with your English and math coursework if you have problems or questions.

College 1

During your first semester here, you will take Counseling 10, “Introduction to College” or College 1, PCC’s first year seminar. These classes will give you skills and information you need to succeed in an American college. Counseling 10 is required of all students who place into ESL Level 2 (ESL 422) or Level 3 (ESL 122).
All other students will take College 1.


  1. Do I have to be a Pathways student?
    • No, participation in the International Student Pathway (ISP) program is not required. You can choose not to join, but if you are not a Pathway student, you will not receive the many special benefits of the program, like early registration to get the classes you need to transfer to your dream university as quickly as possible or support from Pathway coaches, tutors, and instructors.
  2. What is the Pathways contract?
    • PCC has made many valuable learning opportunities and experiences part of the ISP. To get the most out of it, you will need to participate in all of these activities. The Pathway contract is a document that you sign agreeing to complete the ISP activities in order to get all of the benefits of the program.
  3. What if I join the International Student Pathway but decide to skip iJam or not take Counseling 10/College 1?
    • Counseling 10 is required for all new International Student Pathway students placing into ESL levels 2 and 3. College 1 is required for all other ISP students. These classes are part of the Pathway contract. If you choose not to follow the contract, you will lose all the privileges of Pathway students, like earlier registration and extra support from coaches and tutors.
  1. Will I be guaranteed my classes and have access to all the services and resources after my first year at PCC?
    • PCC offers many excellent services and resources to all PCC students. One of the goals of the ISP is to help you learn about and use these resources. In addition, the International Student Center staff are available to answer your questions and help you solve your problems. However, after the first year, you will not be able to register early with first year Pathway students, and you will no longer have access to the coaches and tutors.
  2. If I have taken classes at another American college, do I still have to complete all the Pathway requirements?
    • Some international students arrive at PCC having completed courses at another college or university in the US. If that is your situation, speak with an ISP counselor or coach to create the best plan to help you succeed at PCC.
  3. I placed into ESL Level 2 or Level 3. Do I have to take 12 units of ESL my first semester?
    • Some new international students need a little extra time to improve their English language abilities. PCC has set aside “blocks” of classes to help you improve your English speaking, listening, reading, and writing ability. Since most college classes require English ability at the ESL level 4 or above, the ESL blocks are the best place for you to have 12 units of classes and improve your college-level English ability.