November 21, 2016
Monique McDowell-Russell, Y4Y Lead Education Specialist
“Every little step” is more than a song lyric. It can be a mantra for high school students making the transition into the “world out there.” In 21st CCLC programs, we have the challenge and pleasure of helping students develop a path to what they want to do after graduation. While the new Y4Y course on College and Career Readiness can help us set high expectations for students of all ages, this is especially urgent for students who are nearing the end of their K-12 experience.
So, how do we plan? Here are some tips for ways to get — and keep — your teenage students on track for postsecondary success.
What we can do as professionals:
- Create a one-page document, with your program logo, that provides information on where to get help with financial aid and other services (both in and out of state) for high school seniors and college students.
- Collaborate with the high school to promote an event for families that explains how to apply for financial aid.
- Post flyers about job fairs and help students explore job opportunities.
- Identify tour opportunities for vocational and technical schools, colleges and universities, and help to arrange field trips for students and parents.
- Invite staff and students from vocational and technical schools, colleges and universities to speak at your programs. Don’t worry; it’s free. Invite parents and guardians to come, too.
- Help to develop or implement transition plans and services for students with disabilities. Parents can invite you to join the planning team, so consult with them about being included and ask them to suggest ways your program can support their child’s dreams for the future.
- Work with the district’s special education office to understand the diploma options available for students with special needs.
- Always keep your door open for a conversation!
What students can do:
- Create a list of interests and activities they enjoy doing, then reflect on how these connect to college and career choices.
- Create a list of vocational and technical schools, colleges and universities they may be interested in.
- Write down their questions and raise them during group discussions. There are no wrong questions!
- Keep parents and guardians in the loop.
What we can do together:
In a word, communicate! Try to meet once a week during program hours either in a group or one-on-one. Focus discussions on student questions and concerns. Hold some sessions at convenient times for parents, so they can become more knowledgeable.
More Y4Y resources to consult:
- College and Career Readiness Tips for Families
- Guiding Questions for College and Career Readiness Partnerships
- College and Career Readiness Research Brief
Graduation is a big step for high school students, but remember: every little step to get there counts, too!