Build a strong bridge; help students know what to expect

Mandate that first-generation students accepted to college attend a summer seminar, promoting first-semester success.

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  • Mandate that students accepted to colleges, particularly those who will be first-generation, complete school-based transition seminars. Award book scholarship money/needed supplies to students who complete the sessions. Discuss study skills, schedule planning, life skills, financial literacy, etc. Utilize guest speakers, donated materials, and support from local colleges to support the objectives. 

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Photo of James Campbell
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Good Morning Christine and welcome to the Teachers Guild.  My name is James and I am one of the Coaches.  Thank you for jumping in and contributing.  When I attended the College of Charleston they had a similar program centered around freshman minority students. The program started during summer before freshman year.  Lets brainstorm ideas to flesh it out.  

Photo of Christine Miller
Team

James, that sounds like a great idea! Thanks so much for your comments. I was actually thinking of something that could be implemented in high schools to utilize that time between college acceptance and graduation. It may even move into the summer. I've seen far too many kids get into to college and never make it on campus, or somehow move from a 4-year to a 2-year school. I'm wondering how it might help them to known more about what to expect.  It sticks in my craw every school year. I love that this exists as a place where we might be able to effect real change! 
I'm thinking of something that utilizes the small-group concept and lasts maybe 8-10 weeks. The curriculum would reinforce the concepts/skills we know kids need to be successful during that first year: study/research skills, decision making, time management, plotting out their college path, money management. I had a little of
that during my first semester at Maryland, but I remember so many students who didn't return after the first semester. I would just like to see as much emphasis on keeping kids in college as I see on getting them accepted. I look forward to hearing your ideas!

Photo of James Campbell
Team

Are you currently in a school where you could test out your idea?  I think it would be great to create a framework.  Test it with students and get feedback.  Maybe even consider inviting them back after their first year of college to see how the cohort learning impact the first semester.   Are you from Baltimore? My career as a teacher started in Baltimore.  I did grad school at Morgan State.  

Photo of Christine Miller
Team

I am from Baltimore! I haven't lived there in a long time, because my military husband has taken us all over the world! I try to get back as much as I can. I am not in a school now, but it is probably a program I can test through the school Liasion here on post in Hawaii.  What an amazing process! 

Photo of James Campbell
Team

Hello Christine 
I have been on a school trip for a week.  Just wanted to follow up with you.  Please feel free to email me james@teachersguild.org

Photo of James Campbell
Team

Hi Christine have you had a chance to grow your idea.  Over the next couple of days we will move to the evolve phase.  Would love to see you develop idea.   Consider conducting Empathy interviews with current students and parents to identify possible college fears.  If you create a google doc we could start brainstorming ideas.   

Photo of Christine Miller
Team

Hi James! I wasn't sure how this all worked, but I have been developing an idea offline. I will create the doc today, and set up some interviews within the next week. I look forward to the next phase. This is amazing! 

Photo of Elsa Fridman Randolph
Team

Hey Christine, 

Just wanted to follow up on James' comment about a Google Doc...this is a great idea and I'd love to see it evolve and ultimately, hopefully, be tested and prototyped. If you want to add the link to the Google Doc you created at the bottom of your post it will give a chance for others to jump in and contribute ideas and feedback. Let me know if you need any help doing this. 

Photo of Michael Weimann
Team

Really great idea here Christine. I could see something along these lines happen even earlier in the process, when students are choosing which school to attend. My wife used to work as a counselor at a for-profit college. She saw numerous first-generation college students enroll and eventually quit–after accumulating huge amounts of student loans–simply because it wasn't a good fit and they had been aggressively sold to by admissions staff who had sales quotas to meet. She always felt many of these students would have had much greater success with a year of community college up front, but weren't empowered to consider that option.

Photo of Christine Miller
Team

Michael...such great insight! I can only imagine that stories your wife has to tell. Those for-profit schools come in and sell such a crazy bill of goods!  I feel like it would be great to try and help those students without family support make choices that set them up for success. How about if the students begin the group at the beginning of senior year (or spring of junior year)?