College & Career Readiness (CCR) in school counseling is a hot topic nowadays! With increasing legislation across the country that public schools provide for their students’ post-secondary success, CCR is here to stay. I always like to highlight the latest and greatest CCR activities at this time of year. Though it is an important topic all year long, college and career readiness seems to get its biggest push in the spring, probably because of College Signing Day and Reach Higher events. College Signing Day is a special spring event which celebrates students who have made a commitment to continue their education after high school through the military, a professional training program, a two year college, or a university. Reach Higher is an initiative started by First Lady Michelle Obama to motivate every US student to continue their education after high school.
So, in the spirit of the spring college and career push, here are the ways I incorporate CCR into my counseling program- both in the spring and all year long.
College and Career Readiness in School Counseling: Guidance Lessons
Guidance lessons are definitely my preferred way to address CCR with students. I try to incorporate some kind of CCR activity into every guidance lesson, usually in the form of academic/college support minilessons or class selection planning for the next year. One of my favorite lesson resources is Big Future and I especially like to show my students the interviews of college-going students on this site.
College and Career Readiness in School Counseling: Groups
Studentaid.ed.gov is a valuable resource that I tap into for my groups! I include some kind of CCR component into my academic achievement groups by ordering free Ed Pubs downloadables for each group member. In group, we read and discuss the Ed pubs resource together (for example, My Future, My Way) and then apply the resource to their self-chosen academic goal. Speaking of self-chosen goals, all of my groups now include goal work and grade checks that we apply through brief discussions to group members’ long term goals.
College and Career Readiness in School Counseling: Individual Sessions
In my school district, every student in grades 5-12 has to have a Personal Graduation Plan, or PGP. Every time I meet with a student, I try to spend a few minutes of the session reviewing their endorsement and then checking their current grades and classes to see if they are on track. That conversation might sound something like this:
Counselor-What is your endorsement?
Student-Health science because I want to be a nurse when I grow up.
Counselor-Great! And I see you are taking PAP science which is exactly the class you need for this type of career. However, I also see that you have a C in this class. While a C is passing, a B or an A would be much better since this is your chosen career. What kind of support do you need to bring the grade up?
College and Career Readiness in School Counseling: Schoolwide Activities
There are so many fantastic ways that you can address CCR in a whole-school environment. One of the ways we do this is by celebrating College Week, which is usually the week around College Signing Day. We give morning announcements with college facts on increased income potential, we do scavenger hunts and door decorating contests to highlight various alma maters of staff members, and we even take students on a field trip to a local college. Did you know that colleges will send you all kinds of “swag” for free if you ask them with an email or phone call? Here’s the list of who to contact to start your college swag collection! This makes for wonderful prizes and giveaways during this week.
NEWSY AND NOTEWORTHY
- Did you know that every Tuesday I air a short video clip of a tried and true school counseling hack I’ve discovered? Follow me here to see my weekly Tuesday Tip video clip!
- Don’t forget to sign up for the ASCA webinar on April 16 if you want to brush up on your group counseling game. I’ll be presenting on everything you need to know to run successful and fun psychoeducational groups. Here’s the link for more info or to sign up.
- If you are in Texas, I just got word that I will be headlining both the Elementary and Secondary Annual Summer School Counselor Seminars in Austin on June 13 and 14!! Details and signup info for elementary counselors here and for secondary counselors here.
This brings me to the end of my April post. Please leave a comment because I’d love to hear how you support students through college and career readiness! Catch up with me again in May for my monthly counseling post that I share during the first weekend of every month!