For those serious about college planning, I strongly suggest that you read the book, “A High School Plan for Students with College-Bound Dreams” [ISBN 978-1-880463-06-2 – $19.95] as it is impossible to sufficiently cover nearly 300 pages of material within the timeframe of a 1.5 hour workshop. College planning is a knowledge intensive process and failure to adequately plan leaves thousands of students thousands of dollars in debt and without a degree each year. Read my blog entry, “The Financial Risks of Choosing the Wrong College” and the Education Trust’s Report, “Subprime Opportunity: The Unfulfilled Promise of For-Profit Colleges and Universities.”
Following are some of the key points and links discussed at the College Planning Seminar presented at Turner Chapel AME Church on Sunday, September 25, 2011.
As indicated in my blog entry, “Pick a Box” it is critically important that parents begin exploring college options based on student interests during the primary grades if they are to ensure that students have the necessary middle-through-high school course schedule to gain admissions into the types of colleges, and prepared to pursue the types of college majors, that are aligned with student interests.
5 things that students can do to begin developing comprehensive college-bound plans:
- Get a copy of the book, “A High School Plan for Students with College-Bound Dreams”
- Get a copy of your middle and high school course catalog
- Get a copy of the online course offerings for your state or local school district, e.g., (http://www.gavirtualschool.org)
- Identify the middle school classes that you can take for high school credit
- Identify the entry criteria for the gifted program, advanced middle school classes, and high school honors, Pre-AP, IB, and AP classes at the schools that you will be attending
Review my blog entry regarding the importance of doing your research and download a blank “College Research Sheet.”
Develop your “Fantastic Four” of college preparation to ensure that you are the best possible candidate for college admissions:
- Extracurricular Activities
- Personal Qualities
Go to U.S. News and World Reports to review college rankings.
5 primary considerations for the classes that a student takes in grades K-12 as they relate to college:
- Meet your high school graduation requirements
- Meet college admissions requirements for the colleges and universities you wish to attend
- Make yourself a competitive candidate in the college admissions process
- Be adequately prepared for college-level coursework
- Save money in college tuition through AP and Joint Enrollment classes, and merit-based scholarships
Based on 2011 Georgia ACT performance results, the percentage of students, by race, who WERE NOT considered college ready (see my blog entry for National ACT performance results):
- 61 percent of Asian Students
- 67 percent of White Students
- 83 percent of Hispanic Students
- 95 percent of Black Students
5 things that you can do to better prepare yourself for college:
- Take the most difficult classes that you can get a “B” or better
- Take 4 years of math, science, and a foreign language
- Increase your reading, speaking, and writing skills
- Identify a tutor BEFORE you need one
- Take as many classes as possible in the area that will be your “Hook”
4 things colleges are looking for when reviewing your transcript:
- The strength of your academic schedule against what was offered at your high school
- The grades that you received in the classes that reflect the likelihood of your succeeding at the college that you are applying to
- Classes that related to what you say that you are passionate about
- How your course schedule compares to other students like you
Important questions that you must answer:
- Are you willing to take classes that your friends may not be willing to take?
- Are you willing to make sacrifices?
- Are you willing to work hard?
- Are you willing to risk getting low grades?
- Are you willing to work with one or more tutors?
- Are you willing to accept the sense of cultural isolation that occurs when students from your gender or racial group are underrepresented in advanced classes, academic clubs, and programs?
The types of colleges that your coursework will get you into:
- AP/IB: Highly-competitive
- Honors: Competitive
- Regular: Traditional
- Remedial: Open Enrollment
5 things you should be doing to ensure academic success:
- Plan your course schedule from today through your final year of high school based on the level of college you want to gain admissions into.
- Identify the tutors and support materials that you may need.
- Plan and organize your school year to ensure that you achieve a successful balance between your academics and extracurricular activities.
- Stop whining to your parents about how hard school is and accept that, for most students, school is your only job!
- Talk to your parents and teachers when you are struggling so that they can support you and ensure that you are successful.
- Maximize your opportunities during high school to ensure that you are adequately prepared for college
- Don’t be a class clown
- Avoid discipline infractions
- Take your grades seriously from the first day of ninth grade through the final day of the twelve grade
Email Mychal Wynn at email@example.com, visit his personal website at www.mychalwynn.com, or call (770) 518-0369 if you would like to bring this workshop to your school, PTA/PTSA, organization, or to your place of employment as a lunchtime seminar.