On November 9th, Nadia led the junior scholars in a college research work-shop to start prepping them early on the college research process. The scholars were asked about how much they knew already about the different college-related terminology. We had them place orange stickers next to different terms on a poster set to indicate the terms that they didn’t know. They placed a lot of stickers on posters but a later activity that we implemented proved that they knew more than they thought they knew.
With National Portfolio day a week away, we spoke to them about bringing their work to the event. They were able to ask the mentors questions about how many pieces they needed to bring, what schools wanted to see and how they could cater their work to certain schools. We stressed that the scholars not be discouraged because they were getting an early edge on the portfolio creation process by going to National Portfolio with what they have and then asking the colleges questions on how to improve their work for their senior year when they return with completed portfolios.
Then we went into our first activity which was to ask the students about what their needs and wants in a college were. They learned a lot from this activity and it got them thinking about how to distinguish between the two. In the end, we received some really good answers. We then had them compose a list of their own individual needs and wants so that when they become seniors, they have this information for their personal use in advance.
Our next activity was a game in which the scholars were given two sets of index cards; one set with different college-related terms and the other with the definitions. The goal was to match the terms with the definitions. This was the activity that proved that they knew more than they thought. Although us mentors assisted them with this activity, we weren’t allowed to tell them the answers nor did we need to. They really knew their stuff! When the activity was over, they got every definition right.
We then went into the next activity which was to further test their knowledge about the college application process. We had them play a true and false game, asking them questions about financial aid and about college application strategies. The scholars had a pretty decent grasp on the information and they learned some pretty surprising facts about the application process and about applying for financial aid during this game.
Finally, Nadia gave a presentation on financial aid, the differences between public schools, private schools and proprietary schools (for profit schools) and which were the best schools to apply to. We spoke about the importance of applying to multiple schools including CUNYs and SUNYs as well as private schools and other schools that the scholars considered their top choices.
In the end, the students were asked to place yellow stickers on the posters to indicate their new knowledge. They learned a lot of new things that they didn’t know before and they will come to learn more as they continue on their paths to becoming seniors and eventually college applicants.