College Planning for High School Students - College Counselor Traci

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College planning and preparation for life after high school is key to high school student success! That I why I created this fun college planning activity to help high school students prepare for life after high school.

Here is one of the major challenges when students are researching for colleges:

When students plan, they usually only explore local or “name brand” schools.

However, simply telling a student that they need to “take some time to research colleges” might be intimidating for them. I mean, where do they start?

So what is my secret? – the college research project.

College Planning Activity – College Research Project – Step-by-Step

The college research project teaches students how to engage in thoughtful and focused research, encourages creativity. Perfect for college planning for high school students!

It also builds confidence in exploring all the possibilities of college! Here are some steps to get a college research project started for your students!

1 – Assign or have students choose a college / university:

If left up to their own devices, students might all choose local schools or well-known “name brand” schools. Have each student choose a different school!

So, to guarantee students don’t all choose similar schools, you can assign each student a school! Be sure to include schools that are:

  • Public
  • Private
  • Urban
  • Suburban
  • Rural
  • 4-year
  • Community college
  • In-state
  • Out-of-state!

2 – Provide guidelines for information to collect:

There is A LOT of information about colleges on the internet! In my experience, students might seek college information from only the homepage, or information that might not be relevant.

For example, the history of the college/university. While that is good-to-know, I like to focus on need-to-know information!

So I like to encourage a little more thoughtful digging around on the school’s website. Some of the information I like my students to gather include:

  • Name and location of the school
  • Tuition Costs
  • Room & Board Costs
  • College Life – Clubs, Organizations, Special Campus Events
  • Application Process

3 – Put your student’s research on display:

Students’ hard work can be a great resource for other students in the school as well!

I suggest displaying this college exploration activity on a bulletin board, or school hallway. This also guarantees all this valuable research doesn’t end up at the bottom of a backpack!

You can implement this at any time of the year!

Are you ready to implement this college exploration activity, but don’t have the time?

No worries! I have created just the resource for you – College Research Project: Ticket To College!

Simply print and implement!

I hope this information gave you some ideas on how to introduce a college exploration activity!

Exploring college options and getting students prepared for college is a long journey! However, by taking baby steps, you can ensure that all students are at least aware of their options after high school!

Need more college exploration activity ideas? Check out my Pinterest board here! I have curated some inspiring options for you!

Until next time!

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