Teachers and counselors at Copperas Cove High School know that many of their students are among the first in their family to attend college, so they want to prepare them early to make the most of college opportunities. This year, the school began using CollegeWeekLive's new lesson plan to fulfill the ASCA National Standards for Academic Development requirements -- and to help their students succeed.
Located in central Texas, Copperas Cove High School serves roughly 2,100 students grades 9-12. In their discussions about higher education with students and parents, counselors found that many families could benefit from advice about college admissions and financial aid. "It's important for students to not just have a goal of going to college, but start building the foundation for that goal," said Karen Denney, Career "Technical Education Coordinator at Copperas Cove High School. "If students wait until their junior year to start preparing for college, we know that some of them will not have the qualifications to get into the college of their choice, or won't be prepared for the scholarship process."
Copperas Cove uses the SMART goal planning strategy, a school-specific program designed to help students outline specific, realistic goals and prepare a plan of action. They realized that although the majority of students said they planned to attend college, less than 25 percent of them understood what it took to get accepted and pay for it. "We know how important postsecondary education is for our students and we want them to be well prepared and to succeed." said Denney.
Counselors work with each student to help set objectives based on their individual values, priorities, and academic skills. To augment this personal attention, some teachers have set aside class time for students to research colleges online at CollegeWeekLive. Students visit the site to learn what various schools have to offer, video chat with current students, ask questions to education experts, and gain an introduction to the admissions and financial aid process.
This year, the school also incorporated CollegeWeekLive's College Fair Lesson Plan into their curriculum, giving students the guidance to make the most effective use of their time at the online college fair. More than 300 colleges participate in the two-day event, so preparing questions beforehand is a great way for students to make the most of their time while they're logged in.
The lesson plan was designed to integrate CollegeWeekLive into the classroom in accordance with the American School Counselor Association standards for academic development. The plan encompasses:
- A PowerPoint presentation that provides students with a visual introduction to the site
- A "Break it Down" worksheet that helps students set realistic goals and identify schools to pursue
- An interactive worksheet that guides students in getting the information they need from college reps during the live event
The participating Copperas Cove teachers felt that the lesson plan for the online college fair is a great first step in preparing students for college, and the materials provide educators a way to measure what students gained from the CollegeWeekLive experience. "CollegeWeekLive is making college a very real concept for many students," said teacher Gwendolyn Gray. "Understanding admissions requirements was an eye-opening experience for students. It also helps motivate them to excel in their current classes. It's given some of them important 'wake-up calls' about their GPAs, costs, and other admissions issues they'll face."
Copperas Cove students had live conversations with admissions reps and current students and many students can now see themselves making the transition to college life. "Our students enjoyed being able to chat with actual college students," said teacher Lucy Bowman. "Many told us they were surprised by how much they learned."