The ThroughCollege system can be used in a variety of ways and with a variety of people. Here are some examples.
1. As an Individual student. - We recommend not going it alone but a do-it-yourself strategy could work for the right student. Learning, self discovery, and preparing for college is best done with others ; however, a student can complete the activities on their own in order to begin the critical thinking process that could help inform their next steps.
2. Through a School Counselor. - The school counselor can use the activities with students in their counseling work or can distribute the ThroughCollege system to students in the school to be used in different settings, especially those listed below. Often times the school counselor will determine how the ThroughCollege system can be utilized within the school. The activities should be understandable enough that a motivated and committed individual student can work through them.
3. In Student pairs. - Peers can have a positive influence on students' college preparation process. Working with a friend on the A student can also do the ThroughCollege system with a friend. This may be better because the pair can help students discover new dimensions about their own college thinking, ensure progress on activities, and hold each other accountable for completing the system. to progressing through the activities. The pair can also talk through and talk about what they are finding.
4. With a parent. family member. - Family involvement has a strong influence on adolescents' decision of postsecondary careers. Engaging family members to work with their teen on the A parent and student can together go through each of the ThroughCollege activities . It could help both determine best plans and practices for preparing for, applying to, and selecting the right college. It could also be a fun way for the parent family members and student to learn more about each other and think through the important issues.
5. One on one with a mentor. - A good mentor can help the student to think more deeply and keep the student's motivation and commitment alive to progress. A mentor can be anyone , a college student, teacher, counselor, trusted adult, or a local volunteer. A good mentor has probably successfully applied to and finished college and can also share some personal experiences. A mentor can be anyone including a college student, teacher, counselor, or trusted adult. Some schools may find willing college students at a local university who would be happy to volunteer as mentors.
6. In a mentoring group. - A mentoring group of 2-9 students who are guided by a mentor or a guidance counselor can be a powerful experience. In addition to gaining the knowledge from the activities, a student can also develop meaningful relationships with peers and a mentor who are all engaged with thinking about college and themselves. Having a group to provide challenge and support is also of great value.
7. In class. - Many schools offer classes that help students plan for the future. The ThroughCollege activities could be the curriculum for an entire class. Individual activities could be used in other classes to allow for college future preparation to be done throughout the curriculum. An essay activity could be done in an English class for instance.
8. In a program. - The ThroughCollege system could be the curriculum or activities for a pre-college or after school program offered by the school or another organization. Within the program, students could do
some activities on their own, some with a mentor, or some with a group.
How to do the activities?
The activities require a good deal of reflection and thought. A good process to take when doing the activities could involve:
- Read the activity
- Think about what the activity is asking of you. Reflect on it or jot down your initial thoughts or ideas.
- Complete the activity on the sheet in as much depth as possible.
- Discus what you did with your mentor or others who are involved in the activities with you. Think about and share with them why you completed the activity as you did.
t is also important to save the activities as they are completed. All of the student's completed activities will make up a portfolio that showcases the thinking they have done to discover themselves and prepare for college and beyond. You can find a folder or make a
special binder that showcases all of the completed activities. The portfolio will be helpful for not only self reflection but certain activities students do will be transferable to the college preparation and strategy process. It will also be interesting to look back at your portfolio of ThroughCollege activities as you enter college and move through into the rest of your life!
When to do the activities?
Many of the ThroughCollege activities
can be done as early as the 6th grade continuing throughout the student 's secondary education. We always have the ability to experience and start to discover ourselves. Even if you will not be completing a college application for several years, it is never too early to start preparing for college. You can use the system to think through where you want to college, what your goals are, and what colleges might be right for you. The real essence of the system will happen early in the Junior year when students start to formally prepare for college applications.
You can set your own schedule with your mentor or follow an established schedule from your group. Sometimes it is good to do all of the activities together within your mentoring meetings. If you are limited by time, you can do a combination, some activities within meetings and some activities on your own that you
discuss later at meetings. It is best to have regular weekly or at least monthly meetings to keep you motivated and progressing.
ThroughCollege Mentoring Guide
Research shows the value of a mentor is valuable when planning one's life and college search. Students can do the ThroughCollege activities on their own but having a mentor will help them to focus and be committed to what they are setting out to achieve. Plus, these activities allow the student the chance to meet with a mentor, have fun, and develop that important connection. In many cases the school or program will connect the student with a mentor or can at least help them start to find a mentor. If a student is doing the system on their own or needs to find a mentor, here are some suggestions.
First, write down the names of some potential mentors for you. These are people that can walk you through some of the ThroughCollege activities and talk with you about what you are creating and discovering. A good mentor need not be an expert on college but rather someone that you feel comfortable sharing with, and someone that has time to meet with you at least a few times to go through the activities. Some activities you can do alone and you can share your work with your mentor, some you can do with your mentor. So, write down the names of some potential mentors or advisors. They can be teachers, coaches, community members, college students, older peers, siblings, parents, or anyone who you feel qualifies to help guide you through this process.
Next, approach some of the people on your list one by one. In person is best, and tell them that you are starting to plan for college applications and has a system of activities that you'd like some guidance with. You would do some of the activities on your own but would hope to review them with your mentor at most weekly or at least over 3 or 4 meetings this year , whatever works best for their schedule. The activities should be understandable for the student and mentor and the mentor won't need to prepare anything . The role of the mentor will not be to lecture. They just listen to you talk about the activities and be present with you. It is easy but powerful work. Your mentor is like an amateur guidance counselor and this system of activities will help them guide.
After you've found a mentor. Set up a time to give them a copy of the ThroughCollege system and start do go through some of the activities and talk about them when you are finished. Maybe it is best for the student to work on the first few activities on their own, show the mentor when they meet, and then maybe start some of the next activities together. Finally, set up a new time to meet again and identify which activities you will do on your own in the meantime. In general a simple mentoring process could like this:
1. Do a few activities on your own
2. Talk about them with your mentor
3. Do some activities together with your mentor
4. Talk about them
5. Set up a next time to meet
6. Identify which activities you will do on your own in the meantime
7 . Show the mentor your finished activities when you meet
Tips for starting the mentoring at your first meeting
Devote your first meeting to getting to know each other and setting the ground rules for how you will work together. An idea is for the both of you to identify things that will be important to having a good mentoring relationship. Some of these things could be showing up on time, meeting regularly, taking risks, getting engaged with all of the activities, digging deeper and thinking more about the questions, discussing activities, updating each other on successes, etc. You can write these things down on a sheet of paper. You both can even sign the sheet to formally commit to doing those things.
Also set a schedule for when you will be meeting. It is ideal to meet weekly but you can find other arrangements that best fit your schedule. At this important first meeting just get to know each other and talk about the whole ThroughCollege system, how you plan on doing it, and what it means to start discovering yourself and planning for college. Maybe share why this is important to each of you. You can start with the first ThroughCollege activities at this first session but you can also reserve the first meeting for doing something fun and establishing the commitments you both will make.
Mentoring.org is a great website if you want to learn more about mentoring and get more tips for how to do it well.
What is Mentoring?
Mentoring is a structured and trusting relationship that brings young people together with caring individuals who offer guidance, support and encouragement aimed at developing the competence and character of the mentee.
Types of Mentoring:
Responsible mentoring can take many forms: traditional mentoring (one adult to one young person); group mentoring (one adult to up to four young people); team mentoring (several adults working with small groups of young people, in which the adult to youth ratio is not greater than 1:4); peer mentoring (caring youth mentoring other youth); and e-mentoring (mentoring via e-mail and the Internet).
Locations of Mentoring:
Mentoring can take place in a wide array of settings, such as, at a workplace, in a school, at a faith-based organization, in a community setting and in the "virtual community," where e-mentoring takes place.
Duration of Mentoring:
Because relationships and a sense of bonding occur over time, the duration and consistency of a mentoring relationship is very important. At a minimum, mentors and mentees should meet regularly at least four hours per month for at least a year. There are exceptions, such as, school-based mentoring, which coincide with the school year and other types of special mentoring initiatives. In such special circumstances, mentees need to know from the outset how long they can expect the relationship to last so they can adjust their expectations accordingly.
Source: Jean E. Rhodes, Ph.D., Stand by Me: The Risks and Rewards of Mentoring Today's Youth. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2002.)
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