Last Fall, student participants in the BetterGrads pilot eMentoring Program at Granada High (Livermore, CA) formed a new club on campus unlike any other. The College Prep Club was designed to encourage students – 2400 in all – to see college as an attainable goal. Since its inception, the College Prep Club 2012 (with “2012″ signifying the year members will graduate from high school and begin college) has significantly improved the college-going culture on campus. The College Prep Club has been involved in several college-themed activities, including SAT study sessions and College Planning “Expo” nights. Recently, students initiated the Pennant Project, for which club members collect pennants from Granada teachers’ alma maters and ask them about their experience there. The pennants will be displayed in the Granada High library and career center with the intent of further promoting college-going culture by connecting specific schools with students’ teachers. As part of [...]
Last week, BetterGrads returned to Granada High School (Livermore, CA) for College Planning Night and the Freshmen-In-Transition (F.I.T.) program. The presentation team included three of our fabulous mentors – Andrea Olson, Andrea Duwel, and Greg Felter – and me. We spoke about college to bucket-loads of students and parents: nearly 800 over two days. Unlike last year, when we used a more scripted approach to our presentation curriculum, this year we asked attendees to direct the show by slinging questions at us on any aspect of college. Let the fun begin.
Dear High School Matt, You are about to make the biggest jump of your young life, try not to worry about it so much. It is a significant transition, but you will soon find that you can handle it, so embrace it as soon as possible. And I know that you stumbled on UC Davis as your school, but don’t worry about it. You will come to love the school and the town of Davis sooner than your imagine. While it was not an easy decision for you, it will turn out fantastic. After you get settled in at Davis, get involved as much as you can as soon as you can. Don’t waste your freshman year in a mess of drama, when you could be participating in many productive ways.
Even though it’s been five years, I remember what you’re going through all too well. Let’s see…you’re freaking out about passing precalculus, waiting on pins and needles to hear back from colleges, and wondering why senior year has been the complete opposite of the idyllic year promised by yearbooks and teen movies. Am I right? Thought so.
I remember you at seventeen, about to start your senior year of high school as the new student at a private, Catholic school in the Los Angeles. The earlier years of high school were a challenge for you – your mother being diagnosed with breast cancer and constantly feeling out of place within the LAUSD school system. You had too many passions and too little outlets for them. Would college be the solution to your feeling out of place? Would college allow you to make up for the social and extracurricular experiences you missed out on, when you came home early to provide support to your mother because you could not bear to be out when someone you loved so dearly was in such tremendous pain?
Write a letter to your high school self. Share the things you questioned about college that eventually were answered. Share your wisdom and advice. Give some guidance to the next generation of college potentials.
If you’re a high school junior, chances are your inbox and mailbox have been filled with letters from the marketing departments of colleges across the country. I also received those one page letters. And if you do not feel like waiting until the summer before your senior year to figure out whether you should apply to these schools, even better. And so it was during the spring of my junior year in high school that My Dad and I decided to take a road trip and visit some schools in the area who had been so kind to send us boiler-plate introduction letters. This time, “in the area” referred to schools beyond the city limits of Los Angeles, namely UC Berkeley, UC Davis, Sonoma Sate, and UC Santa Barbara. Below you will find some observations and tips from our trip should you choose to visit some schools during your spring [...]
As Elizabeth mentioned, February is a month filled with opportunities for budding relationships (college acceptance letters) and heartbreak. (sigh…rejection letters). In some cases, these same letters may force some soon-to-be graduating high schools seniors to revisit a question they once confidently answered months before penning rough draft personal statements. What’s more, the answer to this question may not arrive after one discussion. The question is simple: “What’s the value of a college degree?” Using qualitative and quantitative analysis, Wall Street Journal columnist Sue Shellenbarger attempted to answer that question. Below you will find excerpts from her December 2009 article as well as some great BetterGrads-inspired commentary. Finding work you love. College degrees can guide students’ career choices in subtler ways. Jason Wotman, 24, loves his work as a co-founder of Tailwaiters, a Great Neck, N.Y., startup that runs tailgate parties for clients at sporting events and concerts. “It’s mine, it’s [...]
On Thursday, the New York Times ran an article describing a growing trend among senior citizens: sleep overs! After spending the daytime acquainting themselves with the facilities, retirement communities are offering prospective senior residents the opportunity to take in evening social events and the opportunity to spend the night. For senior citizens, this is a great way to gauge social life and other nuances associated with retirement homes that one could not glean from a brochure. Retirement communities are not the only institutions to offer this opportunity. Colleges do too! I dedicate this post to one of the great (and relatively uncelebrated) pre-college traditions: prospective student overnight visits! Why you should do it: College overnight visits offer prospective students (or more cutely known as, prospies) an unfiltered, in-your-face opportunity to experience collegiate social life in a way that guidebooks or facebook photos could never showcase. For example, such visits give [...]
BetterGrads will be offering four College 101 panels in January 2010 at San Francisco Bay Area High Schools, including Richmond High School and Oakland Technical High School.