Pathway to Purpose

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About the Program 

We live in a globally connected world changing at a rapid pace as demographic change and technological change, especially artificial intelligence, mean work in the future will be different from what it is right now. Many current jobs will no longer exist, while many new jobs will be created. In the midst of this, persistent "big problems" such as inequality, the climate change threat and populism are threatening our way of life, and education has consistently failed to deliver on its promise of social mobility for students from low income families.

These realities demand visionary, value-driven leaders with the mental models, emotional intelligence, passion and courage to motivate much needed change.

Enter pathway to purpose.

The Pathway to Purpose initiative is designed to deliver a transformative higher education experience to high-performing students from under-resourced and under-served backgrounds. Through substantial financial funding, a focus on experiential learning and high-impact practices such as writing-intensive courses, study abroad, internships, undergraduate research and community engagement, as well as intentionally designed and scaffolded curricular and co-curricular programming and mentoring, students will be equipped to successfully navigate their careers and the outside world while nurturing their own unique identities.

Program Components 

Spring Preview

The Spring Preview program is a mandatory orientation for all newly admitted P2P students and their families. The purpose of Spring Preview is to welcome students to the program, introduce them to program expectations, walk through the general summer schedule and help each student plan their individual summer schedules.

Accelerated Summer Start

The program will begin in the summer with an accelerated experience from June 23 to July 1st, after the third orientation session (P2P participants are encouraged to attend this session, but must attend one of the University’s mandatory New Student Orientation sessions in June). Into addition to academic elements, students will be introduced to University resources and staff, and given tools to help navigate the year ahead. Students return home on July 1st and return for the first semester.

Cohort Experiences

One of the hallmarks of the P2P experience is the ability of students to take courses with their peers in a collaborative and empowering experience. Regardless of their major, P2P participants will take at least one cohort-based class a year, focused on the development of critical thinking skills and the habits of mind that are in high demand by employers. Most of these courses will be offered during the winter intersession or one of the summer sessions. One of these courses will be a short-term study-abroad experience.

For their first year, P2P participants will also live in on-campus housing in triple-occupancy spaces. This requirement supports community building and cost savings.

Support and Navigation Assistance

P2P participants will have a college mentor as they transition to college and navigate their first year and beyond. They also will meet outside of class on a bi-weekly basis to learn tips for success and share their collective wisdom with each other.

Financial Aid 

Admission to the program entitles students to a sizeable University scholarship, which covers most of the cost for tuition, room and board. After accepting all federal loans, the total out-of-pocket cost to attend the University is $3,000.

If students choose not to accept federal loans, they will be responsible for covering those additional costs.

Residents from outside of Rhode Island will be charged an additional $2,000.

Eligibility & Requirements 

To be considered for the program, applicants must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Be eligible for need-based financial aid and qualify for the Pell Grant
  • Have or earn a high school diploma with a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale before the start of the program
  • Be a student from an underrepresented or underserved background
  • Be entering college for the first time

In addition to these requirements, strong candidates will also meet the following criteria:

  • Achieve a GPA equal to or greater than 3.3 on a 4.0 scale
  • Have completed a rigorous high school curriculum, including 4 years of math and science (3 of which should be in lab-sciences) if applying for a STEM major

Application Process 

There are three steps to applying for the program. Step 2 may happen before 1. However, step 3 will only happen after steps 1 and 2 are completed.

  1. Apply for admission to the University via the Common Application
  2. Be nominated by one of our partnering college advisors
  3. Attend an on-campus interview (Interviews are given based on invitation; it is not a guarantee that all applicants will be invited to interview)


Application Deadline: February 1

All application materials for Steps 1 and 2 must be received by this date in order for students to be considered. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Interview Event Dates:

  • Sunday, March 7th, 12:30-2:30pm
  • Saturday, March 15th, 1-3pm

Final Decisions Sent: Between April 1st and April 15th