If you’re a high school teacher, college is undoubtedly a topic that your students will discuss during their time in your care. While it’s true that college isn’t for everyone, it’s also the case that people with a college education tend to earn more money and enjoy numerous other advantages throughout their lifetime than those who don’t – not to mention society at large also benefits from its population being better educated.
This is why it’s important for teachers to do their best to encourage their students to apply for college and help them with the process. With this in mind, here are several effective ways you can do so.
Encourage Students to Dream Big
Not all young people are confident that they can get into college or succeed once they get there. This is particularly true for students from disadvantaged backgrounds or who might be the first person in their family to go to college.
No matter their abilities and background, do your best to encourage all your students to believe in themselves. For instance, to instill confidence, you could suggest they try out a free college acceptance calculator to see what their chances of getting into university actually are – and they may be pleasantly surprised! You can also advise them to apply to more than one college – picking a dream option and a safe one, just in case.
Demystify the Process
A lot of high school students are put off applying for college because they are unfamiliar with the actual process of how to do it. Whether it’s filling in complex forms, working out what standardized tests they need to take, or understanding the intricacies of the financial aid system, the tasks involved can be time-consuming and complicated.
Discussing all this in detail with young people can help them see that it’s not as hard as it looks – and that the potential rewards are well worth putting in the effort for.
Hold Prep Classes
One option, if you have the time and enthusiastic students, is to hold college application preparation classes. During these, you could take a specific topic and go over it in depth, giving advice and feedback to those who attend.
For instance, one class might cover the college personal statement. You could look at strong example essays, answer student questions on the topic, and get them to have a go at writing their own statements before offering individual feedback on how they could be improved. This kind of idea can build confidence and help students complete applications to a high standard, boosting their chances of getting accepted.
Talk About Financial Aid
Money is a major issue that a lot of students worry about, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds. One step you can take to help is to make sure that students know about all the different financial aid options that are available to them.
For example, you could talk about scholarships and how to apply for them, differences in tuition fees depending on where you study, or the process of filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Just knowing that there’s help out there can be a great encouragement for young people to apply for college.