College 101: Getting Ready for the high school to college transition

The transition from high school to college can be one of the most anxiety-inducing times for a young adult. Whether they openly admit it or not, there is a feeling of overwhelm and uncertainty. Big decisions with seemingly big consequences are being made!  

College 101 is designed to support students through this process. Jeralyn Mire, SHS Post-secondary Transition Counselor, and Angela Dall, College and Career Mentor, applied for and received this grant that PAFE is pleased to have funded. 

“With the push of CTE (career and technical education), our Go On numbers (the number of students who “go on” to college) have been declining the past few years,” said Jeralyn Mire. “There is nothing wrong with that, but we want to ensure we are providing support to all students by offering a class elective to meet their needs.”

With the funds, Jeralyn and Angie created a hybrid class (that can be used for years to come) to support seniors and first-generation college students who choose college as their next step. They cover applications, financial aid, scholarships, finding the right fit, registering for classes, successful tips and tricks, textbooks, emails, and college site visits.

Students meet once weekly and then have time to work on their own independently for the rest of the week.  

In Month 1, students complete a You Science personality test. It’s intensive, taking about three hours to complete, and students discover their strengths and interests, but it also helps answer questions like, “Should you go to college?” and “Why go to college?”

“I loved You Science,” said Lyndre Wilks, “I learned things about myself I didn’t know, like how to turn my weaknesses into strengths. It was way better than a personality assessment.”

We attended and observed a class that covered scholarships. After a fun seasonal ice-breaker, students were introduced to various types of scholarships. They learned about national, affiliation, and school scholarships and how to find and apply for them. 

Throughout the class, they were given time to search for scholarships and begin applying. Their homework? To apply for at least two scholarships. 

The weekly face-to-face interaction helps seniors stay on track and is an opportunity to learn from previous students’ experiences. Sandpoint High School graduates Tiffany Brown (Class of 2022) and Evan Dickinson (Class of 2023) presented and shared their experiences last December. 

Some of the questions students were curious about: 
  • How do you manage a school load and work? 
  • How do you manage your budget? 
  • Where and how do you make friends? 
  • What if you have a boyfriend or girlfriend? (Advice they gave: don’t make decisions based on a boy or girlfriend.)
  • What is something that surprised you? Evan said, “The freedom. No one is tracking you. No one cares what you do. Teachers don’t hunt you down. It’s up to you to take responsibility for yourself.” 

Other advice given: 
  • Make sure to have fun.
  • Go to sporting events.
  • Hang out with roommates.
  • It’s as fun as you make it.
  • Pursue sports and if you have to, do homework on the bus while everyone else is goofing off. 
  • Don’t know what to major in? Try different classes and talk to advisors. 

The results

These students are better prepared and understand so much more than the other seniors. This is despite the fact that Jeralyn and Angie regularly go to English and Government classes to discuss many of the same topics. A representative from BSU validated this when she said the students’ questions showed their deeper understanding.

We want to extend our gratitude to Jeralyn and Angie, who put great effort into making this class happen. We know the impact will be amplified in the years to come.