Coming to Pierce: Untraditional Paths

Kylie Brodie

Contributing writer

I’ve been working at Pierce College for about a year and a half, and during this time I’ve had the privilege of working with ABE, GED and ESL students.

They are part of Transitional Education, which is a part of Pierce College that helps people transition into college classes or the work force. Not many students on the campus even know who these students are or what they are doing here.

They are students from all walks of life and all nationalities who are working on sharpening their skills to enter the work force or college classes.

Adult Basic Education is for students 18 and over who have taken the COMPASS test and need a little more help before taking college classes. We offer reading, writing, and math classes that are designed to take you from the level you are at and get you to college level. GED stands for General Education Development.

These classes are designed for students 16 and older who need to get their GEDs. The GED shows proficiency of the same skills that are required of high school graduates. It is the equivalent of a high school diploma. To get to the point where you would take your GED test we offer reading, writing, and math classes to help you with the basics in literacy.

ESL stands for English as a Second Language. This program is for students 16 and older who want to learn English. We help each level of speaking, from students who know no English to students who just need a little help with pronunciation. These programs are a great resource for anyone needing to improve their skills and they are affordable too.

Most college students follow the traditional path of going to high school and then on to college. It is hard at first but we fall into our groove and make it work. Can you imagine what it might be like for someone who just moved here from Egypt and speaks little English? If that were you would you know where to start? What about the teen mom who had to drop out to take care of her child? Most of the students who are in Transitional Education have some sort of obstacle they must overcome to get to class every day.

Here are some of the challenges:

-Transportation: Limited bus stops or not having a car to drive.

– Money: Not having money to pay for classes or the gas money to get to school each day.

– Childcare: Having children and not having someone to watch them.

– Work conflicts: Trying to balance a work schedule with a school schedule.

– Support: Not having the support from family and friends.

– Language barriers: Knowing little to no English, and being scared or nervous to talk to someone about classes.


Each student who comes into the Transitional Education Office is treated as an individual, and all of the staff does their best to figure out what obstacles that specific student is facing, and then we do our best to get the student into classes that work for him or her.

Although the students come to Pierce through an untraditional path they all have the same goal. Transitional Education students are all different but they are unified by one thing, they are trying to better themselves. They want to get a better job, get better test scores, and have better communication. Transitional Education provides a place for students from all walks of life, and each staff member is dedicated to helping his or her students succeed.


The Puyallup Post is the award-winning news media of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2018. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube @thepuyalluppost

Coming to Pierce: Untraditional Paths

by Contributing Writer time to read: 2 min