story & photo
by Maren Schober
When should I consider college? Why think about college now? What can a college education do for me? Where do I start? How will I pay for college?
Today, Thursday, June 3, hundreds of eighth and ninth graders from high schools across the state converge on the campus of Eastern Connecticut State University (ECSU) in Willimantic to discover the answers.
From 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., informative workshops are presented to help address these questions and others. The students hail from towns such as Bloomfield, Bridgeport, Berlin, East Hartford, Ellington, Hartford, Manchester, Norwalk, Norwich and many more.
Roy Jordan is a guidance councilor from East Hartford H.S. (EHHS) here with 30 ninth graders. “I am hoping we can offer Advanced Placement classes at our high school,” Roy tells me. “These are challenging subjects where our college bound students can earn college credit. The college credits earned will shorten the time they have to spend in college and save their parents lots of college financing.”
Perhaps the workshop that means the most to the students is the one in which four high school seniors share their plans for college after they graduate from high school.
“You will want a college education so you don’t have to spend your 40-50 working years living from paycheck to paycheck,” their peers explain.
“People will respect you.”
“You have a choice. Do you want to party all the time in high school and get low grades and then be unhappy all your working years, or do you want to make the sacrifice in high school, make good grades, go to college and have a rewarding career?”
“Colleges are looking for students who have a 3.0 grade point average in high school. Now is the time for you to be working hard to achieve that. Colleges look back at the grades you make in 9th and 10th grade.”
“How many of you are on Facebook?”
Every hand shoots up!
“Be aware the college admissions people look at the pictures you put in Facebook showing your activities. They take that impression of you as part of their decision making process. Don’t put anything on Facebook that you would be ashamed of.”
Zachary Mathiau is one of the ninth graders from EHHS. “I think these kids are going to wake to reality,” he comments.
Kalisha Jones another EHHS ninth grader states, “I want to go to college so I can work as a social worker. I like helping people. I want to learn how to get college credit while I am in high school.”
Today, students are being introduced to Project Opening Doors, a partnership between public and private sectors that seeks to increase CT student participation and achievement in Advanced Placement courses.
To better ensure their success in college, the KnowHow2Go website was established in 2007 by The American Council of Education, Lumina Foundation for Education and the Ad Council. The KnowHow2Go website is designed to help students start to plan and prepare for their college education.