Tag Archive: college

Education Week (@educationweek) tweeted at 4:42 PM on Fri, Dec 07, 2012:
Blog: Parents Can Encourage ‘Soft Skills’ for College Readiness http://t.co/m4qcIuFA #parents

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This morning…

I’m thinking about college readiness for our students.  The big question I’m asking myself is what does it mean for our students to be college ready?  I’m turning to big thinkers.  David Conley and the ACT website have loads of info on this topic.  It’s leading me down an interesting road.  

This thinking is taking place thanks to Caribou coffee!  Image

Continuing the Debate on Early College High Schools.

This is a fantastic article on the importance of early college high schools.  TCS is an early college high school and we pride ourselves on the opportunities that being a ECHS provides for our students and families.  Certainly there are things that we do well and room for improvement.  This article contains a few ideas that I had never considered (e.g., summer school as a support mechanism, branching into middle schools to support student learning and growth, etc.).  I guess I should clarify, these ideas I have considered, just not all of the data behind them and the potential impact that they might have.  At any rate, if you are unfamiliar with ECHS, this article is a pretty good place to start your thinking and learning.

Beating the Odds: First-Generation College Students Prepare for Freshman Year – Education – GOOD.

First generation college-going students have a very difficult time due to the lack of modeling and support.  Families can be an endless source of energy and information for college students, but if they do not understand the system in place at colleges or they do not value education as highly as the child, they will not be able to guide the student to make the best educational decisions for themselves.  As much as we want college to be open and available to all, this is a huge hurdle for students to go through and many don’t make it.

First Graduate provides mentors which will help students by establishing strong mentor relationships for these students.  Our school begins students in college courses while they are still high school students.  Both approaches will help increase the child’s odds of completing their sought after degree.  One thing is clear, however, doing nothing sets these children up for failure, educational and personal disillusionment, and will not end cycles of poverty and ignorance.

Do State Legislators Need a College Degree? – Education – GOOD.

I have earned a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree.  I have little to no ambition for public office, but should public office holders hold similar if not more advanced degrees than me?  Or put more simply, should it be a requirement that elected public officials should have a college degree?  This is the primary question in this ‘Good’ article.  There are many interesting points raised in this article and I think, perhaps, most telling is that the percentages of state legislators without advanced degrees is quite low (or at least they are attaining advanced degrees at a rate that is much higher than the general population).  But there is something to this idea that public officials ought to have pursued their education further than just a high school diploma.  In order to understand the complex bills, not just the 30-second media sound bites that we get on the evening news (or on-line where I get the majority of my information), our elected officials should have an innate curiosity and a drive to do well in academic skill areas.  This isn’t to say that everyone with a college degree gets this (I went to enough college parties to know better), but there is a better shot of having some of these skills if one has pursued their education beyond the state minimum.  -Ed

What a great story!  A 99-year old man returns to school to complete his undergraduate degree that he left behind for a job in the logging industry during the Great Depression.  Leo Plass is the oldest man to earn an undergraduate.  So cool that he felt it important to go back to complete his undergrad.  If he doesn’t have grandchildren to inspire, he at least inspired me.  Full article from Good’s Liz Dwyer is below.  -Ed


Ninety-Nine-Year-Old Sets World Record, Proves It’s Never Too Late to Finish College

Did you drop out of college? Ninety-nine year-old Oregon resident Leo Plass is proof that it’s never too late to get your degree. Plass dropped out of school in 1932 when he was 20 years old, but after receiving an associates degree from Eastern Oregon University, he’s set a world record by becoming the oldest person to graduate from college.

Plass told Ozarks First he wanted to become a teacher but he was in school during the Great Depression and his friend approached him about a job in the logging industry. “He offered me 150 dollars and it was during the Depression, that was a lot of money, that’s a lot of money,” said Plass. In comparison, a teaching salary was only $80 a month, so he took the logging job.

Years later Plass found out he only needed three more credits to get his degree. Plass says he wishes someone had told him before he dropped out of school. “I would have stayed there all night. I had to just get those three hours in,” he said. Fortunately the university accepted his work experience, which includes picking tomatoes and owning a gas station, as credit instead of requiring him to go back to class. “A good family, a good life, good food, everything good.  It seems it worked for me,” says the new grad.

photo via KATU.com

If memory serves from my college admissions experiences, the answer to this is make yourself sound MUCH better than what you really are.  This is like one of those white lies that you tell about yourself but you can’t get into a fishing tale or just out and out lies (why? because that would be wrong).  It is ridiculous that the college application essay is still considered so heavily for admissions.  I understand that colleges have to distinguish students from one another and this is one of the strategies that they have chosen.  It is an inauthentic form of writing because students could get lots of “help” on the essay giving them an unfair advantage over other students  who either don’t get “help” or who may not have the support networks to help them write a good essay through revision assistance (I remember having 4 to 5 people read my admissions essays for clarity, grammar, etc.; and by the way, when I say “help” I mean ‘cheat’).  It might be time to consider not weighing the essay as heavily (if ever there was a time) or scraping it altogether for a piece of writing that they did for their English class or just a biography that provides some insight into who they are.  Regardless, the essay does not get the college as far as they would hope and is a waste of time for the students.  It needs to be reconsidered.

Repost from this link:

Is 500 Words Enough for a College Application Essay?

Could you write why a college should admit you instead of thousands of other applicants in 500 words or fewer? That’s what this fall’s crop of seniors applying to colleges using the Common Application, a standardized form that’s accepted at over 400 schools, will need to do. According to the officials from the service, they’re capping word counts on the essays for the first time in four years.

As the Washington Post reports, Common Application Executive Director Rob Killion and Director of Outreach Scott Anderson say the unlimited essay option has

“led to essays that were far too long, less well-written, and, at the end of the day, often skimmed rather than read by admission officers. In addition, the absence of a maximum size proved to be confusing for students—particularly those without access to counseling—who simply did not know when to stop writing.”

High school guidance counselors aren’t thrilled by the move. They say that it’s too difficult for a student to really be able to respond to the prompts and show off their writing ability in such a short essay. For the 2011-2012 admissions season, students can write about a topic of their choice, or respond to one of a handful of standard prompts about significant life experiences.

Of course, the root problem is that students nowadays simply aren’t getting enough writing instruction or practice to craft high-quality college application essays, regardless of length. After all, a student can still write a terrible essay in 500 words or less.

The obvious solution is for schools to give students more writing instruction and practice—and for counselors to really coach seniors through the essay writing process. Unfortunately, one effect of our current emphasis on high-stakes testing in reading and math is the de-emphasis on writing ability—and that’s happening from elementary school on up.

photo via The Ivy Coach

Great MCNC Conference!!

Happy to be home (missing the nice weather though) from the Middle College National Consortium (www.MCNC.us) Winter Principal’s Conference in beautiful Newport Beach, California. We had a great time with fellow early and middle college colleagues from around the nation. There was a lot of networking, support, and excitement building for helping students attain their college dreams while in high school. Cannot wait to catch up with everyone and share successes at the New York conference!

The Charles School Mission: The mission of the school is to prepare students for life-long learning, commitment to community and informed citizenship by immersing them in real-world, active learning as well as rigorous academics. Significant to its purpose is to make higher education affordable, accessible and attractive for a broad diversity of Ohio’s high school students. As well, the school works to provide successful college preparation and experience to high school students who may have faced obstacles in the past, along with an arc to higher education for students who might not have considered college an option.

The Charles School Vision: The Charles School at Ohio Dominican University is a five-year program offering students a high school diploma and up to 62 hours of college credit tuition free. Students who may have faced obstacles in the past, and students who might not have considered college, have teachers and advisors who smooth the transition to college. This school is a significant partnership initiative of The Graham School and Ohio Dominican University with both entities fully committed to the success of its students as well as the many opportunities to bring our communities together for productive learning opportunities. -Quoted from The Charles School’s website

Now that the cut and paste job is over… The cornerstone of our work that I believe moves people is the notion that is fundamental to our mission; we seek to prepare students who have traditionally been under served for college-level success.  People I talk to are moved by the idea that all of our students must take and pass at least 3 college courses in order to graduate from our school.  They are shocked that we have such high expectations for our students.  They are usually equally surprised to hear that our students can earn up to 62 credit hours at the university.

We keep this vision alive with our school in that it is the laser-like focus for our work.  We have a single-track mind for the vision of the school.  Everything we talk to our students about is related to college success.  It frames everything we do from discipline, to advising, to registration/enrollment.  This makes talking to the students about matters normally as trivial as talking in class a much more fruitful discussion.  With this focus the conversation  is not about whether or not the talking in class is distracting, but whether or not this behavior will serve the students well when they are in their college courses.

As a leader, I am tasked with helping keep the pre-college portion of our school in order.  This truly means that I am keeping the 9th and 10th grade program on target for preparing students for their first semester at the university (which can begin in the fall of their junior year).  This means that I am monitoring students grades, talking to teachers about what can help them to keep expectations high, and making sure that we are challenging all of our students appropriately.  I do not work alone, however.  There are three other deans who have responsibilities in student behavior, counseling, and college advising.  We co-lead the school and practice distributive leadership with our teachers.

The results of our work?  Well, check the next post (TCS@ODU Busting Out) which I am actively writing.