Unfortunately, there are many students in the country who are not adequately prepared for college or even given the opportunity to apply. This reality is particularly true for students of color from low-income areas. Many students feel as though there’s no way they can afford college or that they wouldn’t be accepted to a university. To them, college isn’t even an option. While college isn’t for everyone, there are bright students who would thrive in higher education who never receive this opportunity. It’s up to educators to help these students become college ready. There are lots of steps teachers can take to support students and prepare them for college, but here are just a few of those ways.
Before taking steps to help your students prepare for college, you need to identify which students want to go to college or might consider it. Some students aren’t interested or would benefit more in a technical career path. While you should generally talk to students about college and offer resources, you’ll also want to identify specific students to work with and help get college ready. See which students thrive in school or show a passion for a specific topic.
Talk to students
Once you’ve identified students who want to attend college or who you think could use some encouragement, begin talking with them. Ask them to stay after class one day or send an email outlining what you’d like to discuss. Having one-on-one conversations with students is a great way to give them the opportunity to open up to you about wanting to go to college or identifying the obstacles standing in their way. Find out how interested they are in higher education and identify clear steps you can help them take or what areas they need the most help with as they start this journey to prepare for school. For some students, this conversation may be the first time an adult in their life told them college is a possibility.
Mentor them in high school
In order to create the best chance of being ready for college, students need to begin taking steps in high school to prepare for college. Begin mentoring your students and encourage them to take more challenging classes in high school. Walk them through the application processes for schools. Make sure they’re doing everything they can in high school to set themselves up for success in college. Do research with them and help them identify what schools they’d like to apply to and what they might like their major to be.
Find resources for them
Your students might not have consistent access to a computer or may not know where to look for information on colleges and financial aid. Direct them to helpful sites and get some resources together for them to utilize. Once they’ve identified the schools they want to apply to, get them resources on applying for scholarships, grants, and other financial aid. Talk to them about deadlines and work with them on their applications. Then, get them resources on other ways they can prepare for college, like what supplies they’ll need and how they can get those.
Work with them
Finally, work with your students to get them college ready. Spend time mentoring them on what to expect once they get to college and how they can thrive there. Make sure they’re on track throughout high school to graduate with good grades and are involved in activities that could increase their chance of acceptance. If they need help in a certain subject, find someone to tutor them or work with them yourself. Giving your students continuous advice and feedback is the best way to get them college ready.