How To Have Meaningful College Search Conversations with High School Students

As I finished up the school year with my seniors, I sent off 57% of my seniors to 4 year college and 29% to 2 year college… you could do the math, or I could just tell you that that means 86% of my 400+ seniors are headed to college.

This means A LOT of conversations were had surrounding college. What am I looking for in a college? What is even important to me in this process? What am I interested in studying? You could imagine the differences in opinion and the general awkward disagreements that I watched between students and parents as we sat in meetings together. 
We do use Naviance as a digital resouce, but I wanted something tangible to put in the hands of students to inspire conversation between student and counselor, parents, or others students. This is how College Sort Cards were born! These are front and back cards that present one topic on a side and then conversation starters on the other side. A student might flip through a topic quickly and know that it isn’t important to them… they can put that card to the side. You can use these cards to pull the most important things out of a student in their college search. You can use them to rank a student’s “top 3 most important things” they value in their college search.
With my cards, I include a pre/post test and a lesson plan… so this can be an activity used with a small group of students or in a classroom station rotation. I like to use these cards with specifically First Generation students… many times these conversations aren’t had around the dinner table even though mom and dad WANT to help– they just don’t know where to start! 
If you’re working with students in the college realm, you may want to check out my FREE STARTER SCHOLARSHIP SHEET! It will help you (as a high school counselor), your students, and their parents in the scholarship search process by helping with organization and motivation!
Do you think this is something you could see yourself using with students? Now that I have these cards and will be working with students of ALL grade levels, I think it will even be beneficial to start these conversations as early as ninth grade… I can’t wait!

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