Earlier this month, my College Coach consultant colleagues Mary Sue, Lisa Albro, and myself, had a wonderful experience presenting to four small groups of 10 to 20 middle and high school aged students and their American Express Big Brothers Big Sisters mentors.
At our first meeting, Dawn presented to the 10th graders, focusing on the preparation needed when applying to selective colleges and universities. She covered deadlines, general application and financial aid information, and gave advice on the kinds of coursework for which colleges are looking during the college application process.
Lisa Albro and Mary Sue Youn worked with 7th graders investigating possible academic and career interests using the Holland Survey — a self-directed test that highlights a student’s interests, strengths, and skills. The students enjoyed spending time reviewing their surveys and discussing their results with their Big Brothers and Sisters. It was a very collaborative experience that not only got students thinking about college majors and careers, it helped them and their Big Brothers and Sisters get to know one another.
They then led the 7th graders through an exercise of imagining and setting goals for their futures with discussions on how to achieve them. The overall purpose of the exercise, much more than just having fun, was to understand how education can help one achieve life goals, whether those goals be buying a big house, a car, or giving one’s children a better life.
I then gave two brief presentations, one on applying for financial aid and the kinds of aid available to students (it was a presentation created by Alex Bickford from College Coach’s Finance team), and another on the value of college and tips on resources for student success in college. It was very well received and I completed my presentation to questions and even some applause!
The Big Brothers Big Sisters representative at American Express assured us that all the workshops presented were a success and a helpful experience for all involved. We hope to go back next year for a repeat performance!