School counselors hold a very powerful seat in their school building: the power to make college accessible to ALL of their students. No matter the students’ background, socioeconomic status, or family history, students should be able to understand the steps for pursuing higher education after high school whether that be technical training or certifications, two-year college, four-year college, or military training.
Here is a round-up of some college blog posts and ideas to help you serve your high school students in this arena!
1- Use a College Application Day to make college accessible to your high school students.
An event like a College Application Day can create excitement and increase student confidence around college applications. Create an experience like this for your seniors! (Download this free Spotify playlist to bring the fun to your day!) Bring in help from local universities, high school alumni, and current college students to let students see a representation of themselves and imagine a future where they invest in their own higher education journey.
When students are given the tools to access information about college applications and are equipped in the journey that applying to colleges entails, they realize the possibilities of reaching that goal.
Of course, 4-year or 2-year college isn’t for everyone, but we don’t want to rule out a certification program, technical training, or college degrees just because of inaccessibility. As high school counselors, we want to create safe spaces for our high school students to explore all of their post-secondary options and build their confidence towards whichever path they choose!
2- Look out for niche groups of high school students that may need extra help to make college accessible.
This is not a comprehensive list by any means, but here are a few groups to look out for and specifically pursue for some extra help in the college application process: first generation students, students wanting to attend HBCUs, high school student-athletes, low-income students, and undocumented students.
Each of these groups of students has its own barriers to college accessibility, and we can have a major impact on their perception of getting to and getting through college. You could pursue each of these groups with their own unique programming, small groups, and resources that would benefit them!
3- Talk about college topics during individual meetings.
Do you have time set aside for individual planning meetings with each of your students? Maybe these meetings are tied to registration. Probably the most intentional you’re going to be around the college conversations is during that senior year meeting where students are asking questions specific to their situations. Start the conversations in big groups like classroom lessons or parent info nights. Then get ready to continue the conversation into your individual meetings!
You can start educating about the college application process as early as ninth grade! Give all students the opportunity to access higher education. It can be a possibility for any of them! The more they hear about their post-secondary options, the more informed of a decision they can make to set up their plans for after high school.
4- Celebrate student’s post-secondary plans and successes.
This one is easy because you’re a cheerleader at heart, right? Doesn’t that come with the reigns of being a high school counselor? You get to believe in students when others seem to have given up on them.
Have you thought about ways to celebrate your seniors and their plans as they get to the end of the school year? You don’t have to stop the party just yet! I’m sure you can think of so many unique ways to celebrate your graduating senior class!
Underclassmen will see this celebration and wonder how they can be a part of what is happening. Just by seeing their older peers make plans for after graduation, you are helping to make college more accessible or post-secondary training a feasible goal.
As you plan to celebrate your students, grab this free Spotify playlist to up-level the fun no matter what you’re doing! When you join my email list, you’ll get tons of other fun ideas to incorporate into your high school counseling program!