Early Beginnings: Community Colleges Plant the Seed with Middle School Students

Early Beginnings: Community Colleges Plant the Seed with Middle School Students
Community colleges welcome students from all ages, even those as young as middle schoolers! Learn about the programs made possible by the College Access Challenge Grant in bringing middle school students to community college campuses.
President Obama wants to see more young Americans heading to college after high school, and he has started the wheels turning to make that happen. According to a report at DelawareOnline, Vice President Joe Biden recently announced President Obama's plan to boost community college completion to 50 percent by 2020. The president has also issued additional funding to community colleges to help them meet this goal. Some schools are taking a new approach to boosting enrollment and completion in community colleges – by inspiring students to higher education before they even reach high school. This article will take a look at the way some community colleges across the country are sparking student interest in college earlier than ever before.

Delaware Inspires Middle Schools
 
When President Obama increased national funding for the federal College Access Challenge Grant, it meant more money for the community colleges in Delaware. The schools in the state decided to use some of that extra money to fund a middle school program that brings eighth-grade students onto the community college campus for tours and information. The students learn about the various academic programs available, as well as financial aid options.
 
The purpose of the program is to get students interested in college at a younger age, so they succeed in high school and move to a community college right after graduation. The program primarily targets areas of the state where there are high percentages of potential first-generation college students and single parent homes.
 
Judi Coffield, policy analyst for the state board of education, told DelawareOnline, "This is an effort to get students thinking about college early on and the rigor of what they'd have to do to go to college. It helps them explore places they can obtain that education, and what will be the time and the money needed to get that education…It also takes away some of the fear and intimidation factor, just having been there."
 
Middle School Students Weigh Career Options in North Carolina
 
In North Carolina, students at Overhills Middle School are getting an early opportunity to consider some of the career options facing them after high school – if they attend one of the programs at a community college in their area first. According to a report at the Central Carolina Community College website, students from Overhills recently toured the Harnett County Campus of the school to take a look at some of the careers for which this college prepares their students.
 
Students explored fields like welding, computer technology and cosmetology with professors from the school who offered demonstrations and information about the training needed and the income levels offered through these various career options. The assistant principal of Overhills Middle School, David Frazier, told the community college website that the tours were good for students because they were at an age when many were beginning to contemplate their futures.
 
Students were given information about training, salary expectations, the type of work involved and the opportunities for employment in each of the fields. The hope is that students who find a career that looks interesting to them will be motivated to do well in high school so they can continue their training in a community college like CCCC after graduation. Students saw specific tools of the trade and heard about students who graduated from the school and went on to successful careers in the industries of their choice.
 
Eighth Graders Preparing for College in Auburn
 
Washington is a state grappling with a startling 30-percent dropout rate among high school students in some districts. School officials decided to address the problem head-on, by introducing middle school students to the possibilities that await them if they make it through high school and move onto college after graduation. According to a report in the Auburn Reporter, students and staff from local colleges got together to encourage students in Auburn, Kent and Highline school districts to take charge of their high school experience so they can get the future education they need to succeed in life.
 
Janet Holm, one of the coordinators of the event, told the Auburn Reporter that the Exploration Day was mostly about "getting to these students before they give up on high school."
 
Ruthie Schindler, the outreach manager for Pierce College District agreed. She told the Reporter, "This is an opportunity for the kids to be on a college campus to explore how the colleges are laid out, to talk to different college representatives about programs and to educate them about the two-year and the four-year process."
 
Schindler was playing the "Money Game" with students in her workshop. She gave the students play money, which the students had to stretch to meet all of their expenses. The students also discovered that the further they went with their education, the more play money they would receive to pay their bills.
 
Many students in high school today don't finish school because they can't see beyond the immediate years of their high school struggles. However, students that do not perform well or even drop out during this time of life have a much lower chance of receiving any sort of higher education that can take them further down the career path. These community colleges and school districts have done more than identify the problem; they have worked out solutions to raise high school graduation and college enrollment rates. By appealing to students at an even younger age, they can instill in them a desire to succeed in their academic endeavors before they become frustrated and lose hope during their difficult high school years.  In fact, if you are interested in programs for your middle school child, take advantage of summer programs and courses at community colleges specifically for adolescents!

Additional Resources [+]
Middle Schoolers at Community Colleges: Why the Students are Getting Younger
Middle Schoolers at Community Colleges: Why the Students are Getting Younger
Kids in College: Community Colleges Ramping Up Summer Programs for All Ages
Kids in College: Community Colleges Ramping Up Summer Programs for All Ages
comments powered by Disqus
Recent Articles
Simple Mistakes Cost Community College Students Millions
Simple Mistakes Cost Community College Students Millions
Are you receiving the full financial aid you should? The process of applying for financial aid can be both time-consuming and confusing, especially for first-time college students. Learn about common errors to avoid in order to maximize your financial aid opportunities.
Students Stuck for Four Years to Earn an Associate?s Degree
A recent report revealed that many California community college students take twice as long to get an associate’s degree as is normally required. While community college is less expensive than attending a four-year institution, students who drag out their degree programs lose much of that savings in additional tuition, fees, textbooks, and lost wages. In this article, we examine the reasons why some students take so long to graduate.
Undeserved Community College Accreditation: Abuse of Power?
Complaints about the current system of accrediting community colleges, combined with the quickly changing scope of community college education and how it’s delivered, may soon necessitate changes in the way that community college programs are accredited.

Get Your Degree!

Find schools and get information on the program that’s right for you.

Powered by Campus Explorer

Courses in College

KIDS AND TEENS

Community college is not just for adults. Learn about all the programs available to children and teens too. From aiding high school dropouts to ramped up summer school programs, community colleges work hard to encourage the pursuit of higher education to students of all ages.