As a teacher, you have a unique perspective on each child’s interests and ability. You also have more access to students than counselors have.
The list below offers several tips for encouraging your students to pursue an education that goes beyond high school.
- Encourage all students to aspire to go to college. Resist the temptation to look at students as either “college-bound” or not. You don’t want to discourage a student who may be the exception to the rule.
- Set the bar high. Have high expectations of your students, and they will likely strive to meet or exceed them. The great American author John Steinbeck once said, “It is the nature of man to rise to greatness, if greatness is expected of him.”
- On the other hand, don’t put down vocational or community college programs or praise only the most competitive universities. The most important thing is that your students pursue some kind of education after high school.
- Realize that some students, particularly those from lower-income families, are not encouraged to go to college and may receive very little information about it. These students need your advice and guidance.
- Communicate the importance of higher education. Make sure students understand that a college education is becoming increasingly important in today’s society.
- Encourage your students to talk to a guidance counselor or teacher adviser at your school and to take advantage of resources, such as www.riseupms.com.
- Integrate college discussions into your lessons whenever possible. In math, pose word problems that involve college situations, such as: “If a student takes out a $5,000 college loan with an annual interest rate of 5%, how much will the student pay in interest if the loan is paid off in 5 years?”
- In science, relate science lessons to real-world professions. Discuss the importance of biology and anatomy and physiology to doctors and nurses or the importance of physics to engineers.
- In history, discuss the history of land grant institutions in the United States or the important role that the Ayers case has played in achieving parity for the Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Mississippi.
- In reading and language arts, have students write a practice college entrance essay. The Master Plan Workbooks, both Middle School and High School, contain information and activities to assist students with college planning and preparation.
- Make sure your students understand which classes they need to take now to be prepared for college.
- Help your students understand the relevance of their classes. Look for ways to relate their studies to their personal interests and goals. Encourage them to check out the Road Map to College.
- Work hard to make math, science, and technology exciting. College freshmen are often poorly prepared in math and science and discouraged from pursuing related majors. As a result, our country is falling behind in technology.
- When you meet with parents, remind them of resources, like this website, www.riseupms.com.
Pay for College
- Correct the misperception that college costs are much higher than they really are. False beliefs about college costs and financial aid can keep lower-income students from even considering higher education.
- A great resource is for Economic Education is the Mississippi Council on Economic Education (MCEE) whose mission is to increase economic and financial literacy in Mississippi by providing resources and training to public and private K-12 school teachers, empowering students to create a more prosperous future for themselves and Mississippi.