Shark Path

Miami Dade College
Academic Level
Issue Area
Key Personnel


Shark Path is an intentional weave of strategies, programs, activities, and interventions that guides students at every stage of their journey from admissions to completion of a credential and transition to the next stage—entry into a baccalaureate program or the labor market. The guided pathway integrates a three-tiered (pre-college, first year, and college mentoring) model of advising using a case management proactive approach. Pre-college advisors (PCA) engage students early and encourage their attendance in college while forming connections with MDC. Once enrolled, during mandatory orientation, new students become acquainted with their assigned First Year Advisor (FYA), who, during the first term, provides career exploration and, in conjunction with the student, develops an Individualized Academic Plan using the Course Sequence Guides. Once 25% of students’ classes are completed, they are assigned a college mentor, who is a faculty or department advisor, who provides guidance on internships, career options, and/or transfer to a four-year institution while focusing on persistence and completion.

Program Description

The program has two complementary goals: transformative change in the student experience to increase progression and completion, and increased organizational capacity for innovation and improvement to sustain this change. The Shark Path steps to success for students consist of: (1) complete admissions application and financial aid, (2) attend a mandatory orientation, (3) complete career assessment and declare program of study, (4) complete English, math, and first-year experience course during their first term, (5) complete an Individualized Academic Plan during their first term, and (6) reach milestones to stay on track to completion within less than three years. Overall, Shark Path seeks to increase enrollment of new students each fall, successful completion of English and math, fall-fall retention, and 150% completion rates.


  • Since inception in 2012, over 80,000 new, first-time-in-college direct-entry (FTIC-DE) students have benefited from Shark Path.
  • In 2019, by the end of their first term, 96% of Hispanic students declared a program of study.
  • Increase in Hispanic applicants by 30% from 9,711 in Fall 2016 to 12,613 in Fall 2018.
  • Increase in Hispanic enrollment by 12% from 5,636 in Fall 2016 to 6,334 in Fall 2018.
  • Since 2016, approximately 88% of FTIC DE Hispanic students are retained from fall to spring. The fall-to-fall retention percentage is 72%. The non-Hispanic fall-to-spring retention rate is 88%, while the fall-to-fall retention rate is 68%.

2024 Call for Nominations: Nominations are open from February1 to March 15