Valid email addresses are required to post comments. If your comment is not posted, I will send you an email with an explanation.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Going To College

Mention the word "college" and a typical 9th or 10th grader will either respond by echoing the desire of their parents for them to attend college, or listing their favorite college sports teams.

Unless a learner at that age has parents, older siblings, or relatives who have attended college their view is rather limited and their understanding is abstract. By the time they reach that age level they have doubtlessly been encouraged to go to college innumerable times by various adults. They have a sense that a college education will likely offer the prospects for a higher income than if they terminated their formal education at the conclusion of high school. They have heard or read about Notre Dame football, Duke basketball, and other distinguishing college athletic programs.

However, what do they really know about the college experience that they have been urged to pursue? How many 9th and 10th graders have gone beyond an internet college visit and actually toured a college campus, walked through a dorm, listened to professors, engaged in a question/answer session with college students on admissions procedures and financial aid, participated in a video project in the communications department, or eaten at a college cafeteria? Well, twenty-three of our 9th and 10th graders did exactly that today.

Thanks to a local pastor who also happens to serve as the Director of Community Service at a nearby, private four year college located in Albany, our group can now create their dreams for the future with more concrete and meaningful images based on this excursion. Now they have mental pictures to fuel their personal visions of college. Now they have a better understanding of what they need to do to prepare for college during their remaining two or three years of high school.

It was reassuring to observe how interested and excited the high school learners were throughout the visit. That was our objective. Fill in the blanks by providing an experience to gain insight and whet appetites. Stimulate thoughts and reinforce hopes. Clear up a fuzzy picture. We weren't promoting this particular college and the school's representatives understood that we simply wanted the teenagers to see what a college is like and how it operates. We expect to offer another tour of a different four year college in the capital region later this school year.

No comments:

Post a Comment