A few summers ago, I called all the high schools in the North American Division (NAD) on behalf of CIRCLE to get a feel for the college preparation resources that were available to students. Unfortunately, most schools said they did not have college preparation available to students except for discussions with the school registrar or a unit or two within another class, often Bible or English. This was not from lack of caring, however. Adventist high school administrators expressed a desire to have more college preparation resources available to their students.
According to the Washington Post, over half of students who begin college in the United States drop out. This shocking statistic means that many students are getting the debt associated with going to college without the benefits that a college degree brings. It also means that many students are not able to enter their chosen careers.
Preparation during high school can make a big difference in whether students succeed in college or drop out without achieving a degree. It can also help students recognize early whether college is a good idea for them personally and for the careers that interest them. Part of this is because early preparation can help start positive momentum toward college: “When starting college, it is easy to get caught up in a downward spiral. If a student is unprepared, he can fail an assignment or class, which leads to stress and hopelessness, which only serves to perpetuate academic troubles. Instead, proactively seizing control of the educational experience before it begins can help a student build positive momentum from the onset” (Seattle PI).
Seeing the need for greater college and career preparation, I joined a collaborative course development project coordinated by CIRCLE, supported by Andrews UniversityPreCollege Services and Griggs International Academy. The nine-module course, Preparing for College and Career is freely accessible online through the Adventist Learning Community. Created with high school sophomores in mind, the lessons are useful for other high school students as well. Schools can use it as a traditional course, with students working in their classroom and our instructors grading their assignments; teachers can use specific units within their own courses; or students can work through the materials on their own online.
This uniquely Adventist course reflects a biblical perspective in every unit, drawing students to reflect on their values and vocational calling. As one of the instructors for the course, with over 200 students signed up in the first year, I have seen students learning about themselves and feeling more prepared for college. I am excited about the potential this course has for helping our students prepare for life after high school. A student recently noted, on finishing the class: “I really enjoyed the things I learned about myself, and the information I learned about choosing a career, college, and how to do those things with God as a focus.”
For details on enrolling your students, or to access all the learning activities for your classroom use, visit circle.adventist.org/collegeprep.