The parents of many first-generation college students may have told them since childhood that they need to go to college, but family members often know very little about the steps required to pursue higher education or the realities of what college life is like. Sometimes, the realities of pursuing higher education bump up against family cultural values or financial and practical needs. All students, but especially those who are the first in their family to pursue higher education, will require support and advice to navigate the complex institutional and relational paths to pursue an education that leads to success in college, career, and life.
As a teacher, you may or may not have all the knowledge to teach and advise your students in these distinct areas, but by being resourceful, you can develop professional partnerships with the people in your school and community who can. Some of your students may participate in other programs with advisors who can help with these tasks (high school counselors, Trio, AVID, Upward Bound). Others will have virtually no support, which makes it important to know which of your students have it and which ones do not. Your role may largely be as an advocate or coordinator working with other professionals to provide your students with opportunities that will help them frame this experience in positive ways. The college access pillar lays out a general plan to support your students (and you) to identify and overcome the barriers to educational access they may expect to encounter along the long paths to teacher education or other careers.
- Explore higher education options, and connect the type of institution to educational and career opportunities.
- Understand the costs and possible funding sources for higher education, and complete FAFSA / WAFSA and need grant and scholarship applications to fund their education.
- Draw on life history, self-assessment of strengths and goals, and education/ work experiences to develop applications for college and scholarships targeted to a specific audience.
- Develop an educational plan that begins in high school and leads through higher education to a career in education or another field.
- What are my hopes and dreams for my future and how can higher education help me reach them?
- How does what I do today lay the foundation for tomorrow?
- How can I be prepared for success after high school and into college?
- How is education linked to careers and what do I need to do to meet my professional goals?
- What are the Pathways to Teaching: How do I navigate them, who can help me, and how do I sustain myself?
Students will be able to…
- Identify and pursue educational and career goals and recognize the connection between the two.
- Develop an educational plan that begins in high school and leads through higher education to a career.
- Draw on life history, self-assessment of strengths and goals, and educational and work experiences to develop applications for college and scholarships targeted to a specific audience.
- Gather and present financial information to complete FAFSA / WAFSA and need grant applications to fund a college education.
Students will understand that…
- Navigating institutions to pursue an education and career is a complex and changing process, but there are resources and advocates who can assist you.
- Pursuing higher education requires self-direction, motivation and the ability to advocate for oneself.
- Although credits, grades and degrees are elements of an educational pathway, learning, development of assets and education itself are what open doors to opportunities.
- Resiliency is an asset, struggle and even failure are not uncommon, but it is the ability to persevere that often makes a difference in the long run between success and failure.
Students will know…
- Growth mindset, intrinsic learning & motivation.
- Types of higher education institutions, possible professions linked to each, and how to apply.
- Roles, responsibilities and pathways to teaching.
- Local advocates who can assist in making the transition from high school to college.
Students will be skilled at…
- Gathering information through online resources.
- Making and following through on plans.
- Writing for multiple audiences.
- Professionally advocating for themselves.