The purpose of the first unit, postsecondary options, is to get students thinking about all of the possibilities upon graduating from high school. Students research various career interests (education needed, demands of job, etc…), labor market demands, and school options.
While learning about adult training and educational opportunities, students are encouraged to explore the similarities and differences between universities, private/liberal arts colleges, technical schools, and community colleges, as well as the similarities and differences between high school and college in general. They also visit the Getting Ready for College Early website to learn about various jobs and their employment/unemployment rates as well as other information that would be beneficial to know before applying to colleges.
Students learn about living arrangements on campuses by visiting dorms on field trips, about class scheduling by pretending to register for classes for a semester, and about other things related to preparing for the transition to college life.
Admissions / Applying
When finding out the criteria for admissions to schools, students learn about the high school course work they should be taking, the appropriate grade-point average they should earn, the entrance exams for which they should apply and study, the need to develop good relationships with potential references, and the importance of practicing writing skills for college application questions. When learning about applying to these schools, students are given sample applications to complete from local universities and told to request similar application materials from the schools of their choice. They also learn the importance of visiting the campus and talking with guides there, the possibility of getting accepted or denied admission, and the other options that exist in the event that admission is denied.
How students will pay the tuition for a postsecondary education is addressed as students learn about the variety of places where financial assistance can be found (i.e., scholarships, grants, loans, the military, etc.). In addition, they complete a budget form to decide what kinds of jobs would be appropriate to support their desired lifestyles.
Student Support Services
Next, because they need to be made aware of the support available to them on college campuses, the students in our program learn the importance of making contact with the student disability services office on campus when they get there, providing the office with documentation of their disabilities, and involving professors in making accommodations for them, which will lead to a more fulfilling college experience instead of a frustrating one.
Researching Your Interests
In all, questions posed to students in the postsecondary options part of the program require them to think about why it’s important to think about postsecondary education, how to research careers and schools, and what their own postsecondary options seem to be.