Friday, March 6, 2009

College Knowledge Know Before You Go

A high school senior who I spoke with recently did not have a clue about how long term papers are in college courses; another was vague on the differences between a major in visual art and one in graphic design; and another was completing her FAFSA but unaware of financial aid basics, like loan repayment terms. These instances demonstrate a critical need to strengthen seniors’ college knowledge before they decide which college to attend and before they head off to campus in the fall. Of course, college knowledge education shouldn’t wait until the spring of senior year, but when the knowledge is not there, last chance remediation efforts are critical.

A few important things that students should know include that it is possible to appeal a financial aid decision, that free tutoring is available at most colleges, that registering for classes promptly is important to claim a seat, and that approaching professors immediately about problems is the best way to address those problems. A math professor and blogger adds a few items to this list, including healthy nutrition, time management skills, and academic integrity standards. For schools with advisory periods, advisory is the perfect time to talk through the benefits of college-going as well as the stresses of college life and overcoming them. Additional means to educate students include posted bulletin board information, booklets distributed with graduation event details, and a presentation on college success skills during the year’s final senior parent meeting.

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