APPLY YOURSELF! HELPING LOW SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS LATINO

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APPLY YOURSELF! HELPING LOW SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS LATINO

AND AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDENTS ACHIEVE THEIR POST-SECONDARY

DREAMS

Kristina N. Hajek

B.A., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2006

PROJECT

Submitted in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the degree of

MASTER OF ARTS in

EDUCATION

(Curriculum and Instruction) at

CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, SACRAMENTO

FALL

2009

APPLY YOURSELF! HELPING LOW SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS LATINO

AND AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDENTS ACHIEVE THEIR POST-SECONDARY

DREAMS

A Project by

Kristina N. Hajek

Approved by:

__________________________________, Committee Chair

Dr. Kimberly Bancroft

____________________________

Date ii

Student: Kristina N. Hajek

I certify that this student has met the requirements for format contained in the

University format manual, and that this project is suitable for shelving in the Library and credit is to be awarded for the Project.

Dr. Rita M. Johnson

Department of Teacher Education

, Graduate Coordinator

Date iii

Abstract of

APPLY YOURSELF! HELPING LOW SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS LATINO

AND AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDENTS ACHIEVE THEIR POST-SECONDARY

DREAMS by

Kristina N. Hajek

Statement of Problem

Although enrollment at post-secondary institutions is up overall, there is still a significant gap between the percentages of Caucasian students that attend a postsecondary institution in contrast to Latino and African American students.

Sources of Data

Data for this project were gathered from current intervention programs that assist

Latino and African American students with the post-secondary goals, peer-reviewed journals in the field of Education, and census data from the U.S. government.

Conclusions Reached

In order to encourage more Latino and African American students to successfully apply to post-secondary institutions, they need a curriculum that can give them current iv

information about the application process, access to resources to be able to apply to these institutions, and a supportive environment from teachers and peers.

Dr. Kimberly Bancroft

_______________________

Date

, Committee Chair v

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Dr. Kim Bancroft: I could never have reached this milestone without your amazing guidance and support. Thank you for all of your time and energy that you put into this project.

Dr. Javier Pennizo: Thank you for being a great mentor and friend throughout this experience.

The Oak Lawn and Chicago Public Libraries: Thank you for being my home away from home. vi

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page

Acknowledgments ....................................................................................................... vi

Software Specifications ............................................................................................... ix

Chapter

1. INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................. 1

Purpose of the Study ......................................................................................... 1

Definition of Terms .......................................................................................... 4

Organization of the Project ............................................................................... 5

2. REVIEW OF LITERATURE ................................................................................. 6

Statement of the Problem ................................................................................. 7

Student Ability and the Achievement Gap ....................................................... 7

Parent Education Level ................................................................................... 10

Family and Peer Support ................................................................................ 13

Lack of Resources and Information from Schools ......................................... 14

Current Programs ............................................................................................ 17

Why College is Necessary .............................................................................. 19

What Can Be Done ......................................................................................... 21

Conclusion ...................................................................................................... 23 vii

3. METHODS ........................................................................................................... 25

Intended Setting .............................................................................................. 25

Intended Participants ...................................................................................... 26

Instruments ..................................................................................................... 26

Design ........................................................................................................... 26

4. LIMITATIONS .................................................................................................... 28

Appendix. Instructor Material .................................................................................. 29

References .................................................................................................................. 69 viii

SOFTWARE SPECIFICATIONS

Required Hardware: 500 megahertz (MHz) processor or higher, 256 megabyte (MB)

RAM or higher, 1.5 gigabyte (GB) hard disk space.

Required Software: Microsoft Windows XP with Service Pack (SP) 2 and Microsoft

Office 2003 or later, Mac OS X version 10.4.9 or later and Microsoft Office 2004 for

Mac or later.

Screen Resolution: 1024 x 768 or higher screen resolution.

Size and Type of Disk Drive: CD-ROM or DVD drive ix

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Chapter 1

INTRODUCTION

Purpose of the Study

During high school, students must make many decisions that can affect the rest of their lives. One of the most important decisions a student considers is what to do once high school is over. Ideally, attending a post-secondary institution is something that every student can achieve , no matter what background; however, studies have shown that access to these institutions is not always equal. Although enrollment at post-secondary institutions is up overall, there is still a significant gap between the percentages of Caucasian students that attend a post-secondary institution in contrast to Latino and African American students (Perna et al., 2008). In 2007, the U.S. Census

Bureau reported that 28.7% of the Caucasian (White Non-Hispanic) population held a

Bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to only 18.5% of the African American population and only 12.7% of the Latino (Hispanic origin) population.

Post-secondary education can yield certain benefits for students, just as the lack of a post-secondary education can hold individuals back. The U.S. Census Bureau

(2002) reports that average yearly income increases as education increases for people ages 25-64. For example, full-time workers that hold a Bachelor’s degree earn around

$52,200 per year, whereas the average yearly income for full-time workers with only a high school diploma is $30,400. Those with an Associate’s degree earn an average of

$38,200 per year.

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Additionally, lifetime earnings also increase as education increases. A person holding a Bachelor’s degree will make an average of $2.1 million in a lifetime, while a high school graduate will only make $1.2 million. These lifetime earning figures suggest that gaining a post-secondary education could lead to a better quality of life. A post-secondary education can lead to an increase of income for a person or household and can allow one to reach a higher socio-economic status.

The above statistics indicate that a post-secondary education can be beneficial.

Unfortunately the barriers certain students face against attending a post-secondary institution begin well before most students even think about college. Latino and

African American students, like their Caucasian classmates, have high aspirations for their futures. Most students want to attend a post-secondary institution, but it is Latino and African American students who fail to apply in equal percentages as Caucasian students (Hossler & Stage, 1992). There are several contributing factors to these lower numbers for Latino and African American students. First, Latino and African

American students are typically placed into the lower academic tracks, increasing the already existing achievement gap in the United States. Latino and African American students often come from homes where the parent education level does not include a college degree. Latino and African American students often attend schools that lack adequate resources to guide students in the college application process, and they receive little or outdated information. Finally, Latino and African American students do not receive as much family and peer support during the application process. All of

3 these factors stand in the way of Latino and African American students completing the application process, causing the lower number of students to apply.

Despite these barriers, several programs are currently running in the United

States to combat these issues. Programs such as GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) and AVID (Advancement Via Individual

Determination) programs aim to increase access to post-secondary institutions for students from minority, average academic ability, and low socio-economic status backgrounds. These programs also encourage students to prepare for the application process by making academic choices well before college begins. While these programs have great practices, ideals, and learning objectives, they are unable to fully reverse the complex issues single handedly.

The curriculum documented in this project was inspired by my own experiences as a low-income student in the Chicago Public Schools system and my struggles with applying to a post-secondary institution. The curriculum takes the learning outcomes from the programs mentioned above and uses other successful strategies from research studies. In order for more Latino and African American students to successfully apply to post-secondary institutions, they need the following: adequate and current information about applying to post-secondary institutions, access to resources that will assist students in the process, knowledge of how to complete a college application, parental support, successful role models, and a knowledgeable and supportive environment of teachers and peers. When students have these pillars at their fingertips, they are more likely to apply to a post-secondary institution.

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My curriculum constitutes an eight-week after school program for high school juniors and seniors from low socio-economic backgrounds. The curriculum can be adapted for specific groups of students such as Latinos and African Americans that want to apply to post-secondary institutions. Students in the program will meet twice per week for 90 minutes each. The first meeting each week will teach students about the application process and how to research topics discussed. The second optional 90minute meeting each week will be for students to research on their own or ask the instructor questions. This curriculum will not only assist students in the application process, but will also provide resources and a supportive environment for all students.

My curriculum combines the successful portions of programs listed in the review of literature, and incorporates issues that specifically affect Latino and African

American students. The idea for this curriculum came from my own experiences as a student in a low-income school that lacked the resources to help students apply to post-secondary education. Using the pillars mentioned above, students will be able to complete the application process and achieve their post-secondary dreams.

Definition of Terms

African American

– A Black American of African ancestry (American

Heritage Dictionary, 2006).

Latino

– A person of Hispanic, especially Latin-American, descent, often one living in the United States (American Heritage Dictionary, 2006).

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Post-secondary

– Relating to education or instruction obtained after high school, including university, vocational, or community college (adapted from the U.S.

Department of Education, 2008).

Socio-economic Status

– A measure of an individual or family’s relative economic and social ranking (U.S. Department of Education, 2008).

Organization of the Project

The chapters ahead describe in detail the basis of this project. In Chapter 2, the barriers to post-secondary education for Latino and African American students and the solutions are discussed. Chapter 3 describes the intended setting and participants for the curriculum as well as how the curriculum was developed using strategies and ideals from existing programs and research studies. Chapter 4 describes the recommendations and limitations of the curriculum. Lastly, the entire curriculum can be found in the Appendix, including objectives, PowerPoint presentations, handouts for students, and lesson plans for instructors. It is my hope that this project will help catch Latino and African American students who would like to attend a postsecondary institution before they disappear from high school and give them the tools they need to be successful in education.

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Chapter 2

REVIEW OF LITERATURE

Deciding whether or not to attain post-secondary education is a decision that has affected students since the establishment of public secondary schools. In the

United States, there is greater access to higher education for more students than in most other nations because of the large amounts of community colleges and four year institutions. Having a degree from a post-secondary institution can yield benefits both financially and socially. The average yearly salary increases between $7,800 and

$21,800 when an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree is achieved (U.S. Census Bureau,

2002). In today’s modern society, a degree can lead to a better socio-economic class.

For example, U.S. society is becoming more technologically dependent, and therefore more skills are needed beyond what the basic secondary school can teach. Working in a well-paying career field requires more education and skills than previous generations needed.

Most students are fortunate enough to be able to make their own decisions about their career plans after high school, and some decide that attending a postsecondary institution is the best way to achieve set goals. However, there are qualified students who may not consider post-secondary education as a viable option because of their socio-economic status, family background, or academic history , despite possessing the desire to attend. Today’s post-secondary education institution system is complex ; despite the ubiquity of colleges and universities, the mere desire to attend such an institution does not automatically guarantee access to one of these institutions.

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Many factors determine whether admittance is granted to a particular applicant, such as academic ability, extracurricular activities, correctly filling out applications, and gaining recommendations from teaching staff, among many other factors.

Statement of the Problem

Over the past few decades, enrollment at post-secondary institutions has increased overall; however, a large discrepancy is still apparent between the number of ethnic minority students that attend higher education compared to Caucasian students , even when considering population proportions (Perna et al., 2008). Specifically,

Latino and African-American students attend post-secondary institutions at lower rates than Caucasian students. In 2007, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that 28.7% of the

Caucasian (White) population age 25 and older held a Bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to only 18.5% of the African American population and only 12.7% of the

Latino (Hispanic origin) population of the same age group. Several factors contribute to this phenomenon, including student ability and the achievement gap, parent education level, lack of resources, and the support of family and peers.

Student Ability and the Achievement Gap

Without a doubt, student ability has an effect on college admittance. Postsecondary institutions see students as potential investments and want to admit those who will bring good credit to the institution. Hossler and Stage (1992) conducted a study investigating the education plans of high school students from 21 schools throughout Indiana. The sample from these schools included ethnic minorities, students from rural and metropolitan regions, and students from varying socio-

8 economic backgrounds. The researchers concluded that post-secondary plans of high school students are affected by student ability and achievement. Not only are high achieving students more likely to have post-secondary plans, they are also more likely to follow through by attending a post-secondary institution.

Poor student achievement in high school and the desire to attend a postsecondary institution is also related to the achievement gap between Latino and

African American students and their Caucasian classmates. In a study by Hurtado,

Kurotsuchi Inkelas, Briggs, and Rhee (1997) regarding college choice, researchers studied the college application behaviors of students from various racial and ethnic groups based on the National Education Longitudinal Study to understand differences in college access and choice. Researchers analyzed student inquiries about attending college completed in 8 th

, 10 th

, and 12 th

grade. Results showed that 45% of African

American and 47% of Latino students did not even apply to post-secondary institutions during the 12 th

grade compared to 34% of Caucasian students who did not apply. Between 8 th

and 12 th

grade, the desire to attend a post-secondary institution does not automatically result in the act of applying for the students sampled. Even students who are labeled as high achieving in 8 th

grade according to standardized testing fall into the same pattern. Despite having high aspirations of attending a postsecondary institution, the number of high achieving 8 th

graders that apply to postsecondary institutions when they reach the 12 th

grade, is much lower than the number of high achieving 8 th

graders that expressed interest in attending a post-secondary institution in 8 th

grade regardless of race. This study shows that although students have

9 the desire to attend a post-secondary institution, they do not apply and therefore cannot reach that goal.

The achievement gap also plays an enormous role in determining whether or not Latino and African American students apply to college. In the United States, many secondary schools fall under the track system. Schools group students into curricular tracks based on prior academic achievement as well as standardized test scores. These tracks can limit students’ academic performance as well as their preparation for postsecondary education. Studies have shown that these “tracks” are often tied to race, ethnicity, and socio-economic status (Oakes, 1992). Students in the lower achieving tracks are usually Latino and African American and from lower socio-economic backgrounds. The students are labeled at a young age using academic history and standardized testing, making it almost impossible for those placed into lower tracks to move up to a more academically rigorous track.

When students are tracked into lower ability groups, they may not receive the courses they need to even apply to a post-secondary institution even though they may graduate from high school. Because they are labeled as lower ability, school districts may only provide remedial coursework or focus on those students passing standardized tests for district and states instead of expecting these students to meet college admission requirements. With the current focus on accountability of teachers and high stakes testing, the priority has moved from producing well rounded, college ready students to ensuring funding for the future with students passing standardized tests. In the lower tracks, teaching valuable critical thinking skills and higher order

10 learning is often skipped (Oakes, 1986). Tracking often punishes those students that need the most help by stifling their learning process. It may leave them with a high school diploma, but not qualified to apply to a post-secondary institution.

In addition, lower tracks do not focus on educating students about attending a post-secondary institution, including how to apply. According to a study by Venezia and Kirst (2005), many students in the lower tracks are skipped over concerning postsecondary education outreach. Teachers and counselors of secondary schools choose students of the higher tracks to visit colleges, attend college counseling meetings, and receive information on post-secondary education. Without this valuable information, it is even more difficult for students in the lower tracks to apply to a post-secondary institution.

Parent Education Level

While ability and the achievement gap play a role in applying to postsecondary institutions for Latino and African American students, research shows that the level of education attained by parents also has influence. Hossler and Stage (1992) state that parents’ education affects the likelihood that a student will apply to college.

As parents’ education levels increase, so does the likelihood that a child will apply to post-secondary institutions. With education and acculturation comes power. As one generation learns what it takes to become successful in the United States, the following generations benefit from this knowledge and skills in a process of social reproduction. Historically, many Latino and African American students come from families who have not been through as much post-secondary education as Caucasian

11 students. In a study examining the school context of Latino families (Valdes, 1996), the majority of parents did not complete secondary school because of immigration or financial responsibility to family, among other reasons. Therefore, the children from these families may not see firsthand the benefits of attaining a post-secondary education and may not be as likely to apply. Other research shows that parent education level can have an effect on future generations and was a predictor both for access to post-secondary institutions as well as for the attainment of a Bachelor’s degree (Ward, 2006). Not all students who come from homes with low parent education level are ill fated; however, it is important to acknowledge that these students are at a higher risk for not applying to a post-secondary institution.

Students whose parents did not attend a post-secondary institution also face another obstacle. Because these parents may not have been through the application process themselves, they may or may not know how to assist their children with this process. It may be hard for parents to assist in writing a statement of purpose, for example, if they have never written one themselves or do not understand the language.

For Latino students, the parents are usually less acculturated with the American education system and may not have the expertise or resources for where to turn for help. This does not mean that Latino and African American students do not want to apply to post-secondary institutions. In a study examining how students transition from thinking about college to applying to college, Weiler (1994) showed that ethnic minority students typically have high aspirations for post-secondary education, even higher than their Caucasian classmates, but , despite this tendency , they are still less

12 likely to apply. It is critical that educators in secondary institutions take that motivation and channel it into the application process, rather than letting that motivation slowly wither away.

Though Latino and African American students are both minorities, John Ogbu argues that there are differences between the two groups. Ogbu classifies most Latinos as “voluntary minorities” – meaning that they chose to come to the United States for a better life. He classifies most African Americans as “involuntary minorities,” who were brought to the United States against their will (1992).

Involuntary minorities face specific and difficult struggles that voluntary minorities do not face. African

Americans have become embedded in the American culture without a true “home” to return to. African Americans also do not have a previous generation of successful immigrants to compare themselves to. Therefore, African Americans can only compare themselves to the dominant White culture – seeing only generations of oppression and segregation (Ogbu). For some African American parents, they do not see any personal incentive for attaining a higher education themselves and will remain in the lower class. This can lead to the children of these parents harboring the same sentiment about higher education and reproducing the same social status (Ogbu).

Parent education level is not the sole determinant of how far a child will succeed.

There are also other factors that determine the likelihood of a student applying to a post-secondary institution

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Family and Peer Support

While parent education level can influence whether students apply to postsecondary institutions or not, family and peers can also play a large role by influencing students’ educational objectives and goals. Overall, parental influence on career development and career choice is important for ethnic groups (as cited in Fisher,

1999). Hurtado-Ortiz and Gauvain (2007) concluded that for Mexican American students, older siblings as well as parents influence the educational trajectory. Older siblings and parents could offer encouragement for students interested in a postsecondary institution. This study shows how older siblings who may have applied can serve as a guide to younger siblings and instruct them where to locate resources. The same study also concluded that students who were more acculturated to the U.S. majority culture were more likely to continue with education once they completed high school. Students familiar with the culture knew the steps of the educational system and could use it that knowledge and familiarity to their advantage; they also knew the importance of a post-secondary education and what value it held. In contrast, even students interested in post-secondary education may not know what steps to follow if they are not familiar with the education system of the United States and have no one to help them learn these vital skills.

African American students may not come from immigrant families like many

Latino students, but they face their own struggles concerning family and peer support.

While both African American and Latino students are historically disadvantaged (St.

John, 1991), African American students display higher aspirations for attending a

14 post-secondary institution. Many African American students come from families where parents were forced to choose between education and survival, with survival always reigning (Slaughter & Epps, 1987). Parents from this may not be able to be as actively involved in the school community because of work or childcare obligations.

In a case study examining the involvement of African American mothers in college choice (Smith, 2008), low SES African American parents were unable to assist their college-going 12 th

grade children in college planning. These parents lacked the knowledge of applications, financial aid, and the long-term values of a college degree.

Many of these parents only pushed for the completion of high school so that their children would have a better life than they did. They did not always see how a college degree was becoming more of a necessity in today’s society. Children of low SES

African American homes may not receive the support from family to attend a postsecondary institution.

Lack of Resources and Information from Schools

Not surprisingly, Latino and African American students may face a lack of resources in many high schools. According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2006), 24.2% of African Americans and 20.6% of Latinos (Hispanic origin) were living below the poverty line compared to only 8.2% of Caucasians (White Non-Hispanic). Many of these poor students live in school districts and attend schools that are lacking resources. A study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (U.S.

Department of Education, 2005), African American and Latino students were more

15 likely to be eligible for free or reduced lunch and were also more likely to attend a high-poverty school than Caucasian students were.

One of the biggest problems in these under-resourced schools is the inability of the counselor to reach all students due to time constraints, outrageous student-tocounselor ratios, and lack of funding. For example, Perna et al. (2008) found that college counseling takes a backseat to the many other responsibilities that counselors have. In some schools there may not even be a faculty member designated as a

“college counselor,” and instead may be a counselor who assists in advising students about college. Without a specialized college counselor, current information may not be given to students due to lack of time and lack of communication. Many counselors and college counselors have additional duties besides , such as serving as test administrators, disciplinarians, and academic advisors for students. In schools where attending a post-secondary institution is the exception and not the rule, students are even less likely to receive the help that they need. In 2004, the national average of student-to-counselor ratio was 262:1, despite the recommended ratio of 100:1

(McDonough, 2005). These outrageous numbers often affect the Latino and African

American population who attend overcrowded and understaffed schools. College counseling can serve as a link between high school and post-secondary education for

Latinos and African American students who may not have other resources to guide them, but with such high ratios it is easy for students to fall through the cracks. They must find other resources to help them with the application process; unfortunately,

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Latinos and African Americans who need the resources most usually have the most barriers to overcome in order to utilize resources (Perna et. al.).

In addition to a lack of school resources in the form of college counseling, the lack of information also cripples a student’s chances of applying to a post-secondary institution. In their study, Venezia and Kirst (2005) examined the overall transition from secondary education institutions to community colleges and universities. High school students from varying ability groups and their parents were picked from several states across the U.S. The researchers found that information and knowledge of how to apply to a post-secondary institution was absent from many students who are from low

SES backgrounds or from homes in which the parents did not attend a post-secondary institution. These students were unaware of the expectations as well as how to meet admission requirements. The same study also noted other misconceptions. Many of the students and parents participating in the study believed that financial aid was only awarded to athletes or high achieving students, and that college in itself was unaffordable. Students and parents also stated beliefs that the high school completely and adequately prepares students for a post-secondary institution, including standardized testing for college admission and placement – which is not always the case at every high school. Furthermore, many students stated that grades do not matter for college admittance until sophomore year and that senior year grades also did not matter. These beliefs can be detrimental to a student that wants to apply to a postsecondary institution. While grades are not the only factor for getting into college, they hold tremendous weight. If students believe that college is not affordable, they

17 may decide not to apply. Not knowing admissions standards can result in students getting denied from an institution. The misconceptions stated above can disqualify students from acceptance into a post-secondary institution. It is important to have accurate information in order to succeed in the application process.

Current Programs

In an effort to combat the aforementioned problems, programs have been developed that hope to assist students in applying to post-secondary education before they leave high school and the reach of teachers. One such program is the GEAR UP program (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) (U.S.

Department of Education, 2008). This program begins in middle school and informs all students about post-secondary education. In addition, the program provides grants for up to six years to low-income and high poverty schools to help close the achievement gap so that these students will be prepared to attend a post-secondary institution. Furthermore, scholarships are offered to students who are attending postsecondary institutions so that low-income students may attend higher education.

Schools may choose how they spend the grant money, but GEAR UP emphasizes using the grant to reach across entire grade levels as opposed to a certain group of students within a grade. It also serves as a support system for schools to make sure that students complete state standards and will not be barred from universities for not meeting the requirements (U.S. Department of Education, 2008).

This program is a good opportunity for students, but if students do not attend a school with the GEAR UP program, they cannot benefit from the resources. For fiscal

18 year 2008, GEAR UP spent $303,423,000 helping a total of 738,968 students (U.S.

Department of Education, 2008). Although GEAR UP is undoubtedly making an effort to close the gap between ethnic minorities and Caucasian students, it is not enough to solve the problem on its own. Even with millions of dollars spent on resources, GEAR

UP is unable to close the achievement gap, provide family and peer support for students interested in college, and raise college application numbers for Latino and

African American students.

Another such program that hopes to benefit students is the AVID

(Advancement Via Individual Determination) program (AVID Center, 2006). Instead of targeting the straight “A” student, AVID targets the average student (the “B”, “C”, and even “D” student) who is interested in college. Students have one AVID period per day where they learn study strategies and problem solving skills. They are also encouraged to take academically rigorous courses that will help prepare them for higher education, which helps counteract the tracking problem mentioned earlier.

Currently there are 3,432 schools in almost all 50 states that run the AVID program

(AVID Center, 2006). This program provides useful skills for students but is only open to those students who attend a school with an AVID program school. If a student is not fortunate enough to attend such a school, they need to learn these skills elsewhere. While this program has wonderful benefits for its students, it does not specifically help with the admissions process.

One program that takes a different approach than GEAR UP and AVID is the

College Guide Program. Instead of providing financial assistance to schools, this

19 program places college guides at secondary schools to specifically assist students in advising and applying to college. This program is under the direction of the National

College Advising Corps, which runs programs in 12 states through universities

(National College Advising Corps, 2008). Recent college grads are sent to underserved schools where they assist students in preparing for standardized testing, developing a career path, and applying for financial aid. The guides are also seen as mentors by the students because of their close proximity in age, and because they have gone through the same college application process just a few years earlier. In 14

Virginia high schools participating in the program, college attendance rates increased by 15 percent in the first year alone (Fischer, 2007). While this program is yet another great resource for students, it is relatively new and relatively small. The projected number of students reached in 2009 is 30,000 (National College Advising Corps).

There are many other programs that attempt to tackle several of the issues discussed. The three programs mentioned above were chosen because they specifically address the needs of the intended students for the curriculum. Although no one program alone can solve the problem, a combination of the successful pieces of these programs can help by addressing the specific needs of Latino and African American students. These programs were also specifically chosen as a basis for the curriculum because they are more widespread and well known than other programs.

Why College is Necessary

As stated earlier, many Latino and African American students come from lowincome families. As a student’s poverty level increases, the likelihood of attending a

20 post-secondary institution decreases – which could lead to the student remaining in his or her current social position (Karen, 1991). In today’s society, social class is comprised of educational attainment, annual salary, and occupational opportunity.

When these factors are kept at the basic level, it is extremely difficult to reach a higher social position (as cited in Lareau, 2003). If underrepresented students, such as

African American and Latino students, are not given the resources to improve their social position, social reproduction continues.

Post-secondary education is one way to fight social reproduction. A postsecondary education can yield certain benefits for students, just as the lack of a postsecondary education can prevent them. The U.S. Census Bureau (2002) reports that the average yearly income increases as education increases for people ages 25-64. For example, full-time workers that hold a Bachelor’s degree earn around $52,200 per year, whereas the average yearly income for full-time workers with only a high school diploma is $30,400. Those with an Associate’s degree earn an average of $38,200 per year.

Additionally, the lifetime earnings also increase as education increases. A person holding a Bachelor’s degree will make an average of $2.1 million in a lifetime, while a high school graduate will only make $1.2 million. This disparity shows that more education could lead to a better quality of life. An education can lead to an increase of income for a person or household and can foster social mobility.

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What Can Be Done

While the benefits of a post-secondary education are clear, applying to such an institution is much more difficult. In order for any student to be successful, but especially Latino and African American students, they need the following:

Adequate and Current Information about Post-secondary Institutions

Both students and parents need to be well informed about post-secondary institutions. This information should include what classes should be taken, how to apply, how to find admissions requirements, and how much a student’s secondary education prepares a student for the process. Since students often go to teachers to get information, teachers should be equipped with information about admission standards in order to level the playing field (Venezia & Kirst, 2005).

Access to Resources

All students, but especially Latino and African American students, need to have access to college counseling. Instead of focusing only on those who will likely get into to college without a counselor’s help, counselors should make themselves available to students of all social positions and ability levels. Latino and African

American students would also highly benefit from resources that expose them to postsecondary institutions. These students need more exposure to college visits, informational sessions, and meetings with college recruiters (Venezia & Kirst, 2005).

When these activities are opened up to more than just the college-bound, students will be able to see themselves as post-secondary students and will know the steps necessary to make this transition happen.

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Knowledge of Filling Out College Applications

Students need to know how to complete many tasks, including researching potential institutions, filling out the application, obtaining letters of recommendation, as well as writing an impressive essay. Trubek notes that composing a poor college application essay can lead to rejection for a student (2007). The application is a reflection of what a student has already accomplished. A curriculum that guides students step by step in the application and essay writing process is necessary so that students are granted admission to institutions of their choosing. Students need to be instructed on what colleges are “looking for.”

An Encouraging and Supportive Environment from Teachers and Peers

Peer support can have a dramatic effect on students interested in applying to post-secondary institutions. A research study by Valadez (1998) concerning peer supports shows that students will act on their plans based on the responses they receive from their social interactions and experiences. Non-White students were more likely to discuss work as a post-graduation option. Without encouragement and support, Latino and African American students may feel isolated if they share their college plans. The same study shows that students who have peers that plan to attend college will increase their odds of applying by 36% (Valadez). Therefore, they need a community that will nurture these goals, but also one that will provide resources for their achievement. For students of a low socio-economic status (SES), which often coincides with being a Latino or African American student, receiving help with filling out applications will also increase their odds of applying to college (Valadez).

23

When students are given a safe environment surrounded by fellow students who also want to attend post-secondary institutions, they will be more likely to apply, too. Not everyone has to attend college to be successful; however, teachers should encourage those students that do want to go to college to apply. They should also be willing to find and direct them to the resources they need. When students are lacking support from their families and peers, teachers and counselors can fill in these roles in order to get more students who are interested in college to apply. In a study examining obstacles that Chicago Public Schools students face when planning for college

(Roderick, Nagaoka, & Coca, 2008), research showed that having a strong collegegoing culture increased the likelihood that students applied and enrolled in 4-year institutions. For Latino students in particular, the study found that Latino students depend on their connections to school for information and guidance. Teachers and other faculty can guide students and serve as their connection from high school to higher education.

A curriculum that encompasses the factors above can dramatically improve the chance that a student will apply to a post-secondary institution. Using the components of GEAR UP, AVID, and successful strategies from several research studies, Latino and African American students can gain access to a post-secondary institution.

Conclusion

A post-secondary education can lead to social mobility and opportunity for students. When access to higher education is not granted to students of all backgrounds, oppression and social reproduction occur. It is important to level the

24 playing field so that Latino and African American students can be given the opportunity to reach their full potential. With a curriculum that addresses the specific needs of these students, the door to higher education can open a little wider.

In Chapter 3, the intended setting and participants are discussed. The background design of the project as well as the specific curriculum is described in greater detail.

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Chapter 3

METHODS

The purpose of this project was to develop a curriculum for 11 th

and 12 th

grade low socio-economic status students with an eye toward Latino and African American students that would like to apply to a post-secondary institution. The curriculum focuses on the specific struggles that low socio-economic status students face as they apply to institutions of higher education. The question to be answered was, What strategies and resources can be used to assist Latino and African American students to successfully apply to post-secondary institutions? To answer this question, other topics had to be investigated first including why Latino and African American students are not applying to post-secondary institutions in equal numbers to Caucasian students, and identifying the specific obstacles Latino and African American students face when planning to apply to college. These topics were investigated by researching current programs and other resources for students and teachers.

Intended Setting

The intended setting for this project is in an area with a large population of low socio-economic status students. The curriculum can also be geared towards Latino and

African American students that often live in low socio-economic areas. This project is intended to take place in the state of Illinois, and more specifically, in the Chicago

Public Schools system. Although the intended setting helped to shape the curriculum, the instructor can make adaptations as necessary for his or her own students and align it with individual state standards.

26

Intended Participants

The intended participants for this project are 11 th

and 12 th

grade students from low socio-economic backgrounds who would like to attend a post-secondary institution. The students that will benefit most from the program are students that have few or no family members that have attended a post-secondary institution. The curriculum can be easily adapted for minority students who often fall into the low socio-economic class.

Instruments

Some of the instruments used to design this curriculum were taken from current programs that assist students with both academic preparation for college as well as the application process. The GEAR UP program, the AVID program, and the

National College Advising Corps helped influence specific areas of instruction that need to be addressed for Latino and African American students. Websites were also highly used in order to gain information to help plan individual lessons and activities.

The American Council on Education, The College Board, and ACT Inc were used to gain ideas for lesson plans and background information for students. Books were also used to inspire lesson plans and for valuable background knowledge for students. The learning outcomes were derived from the lesson plans and materials.

Design

The design of the project developed with the time constraints in mind for both the intended students and the intended instructors. Since most schools are set to a fixed daily schedule with no room for additions, the curriculum was designed as an after

27 school program. The program was designed to take place once a week for eight weeks, with an optional second session each week for questions or lab time. Each session lasts for 90 minutes. Although many students may have additional responsibilities, they may be able to schedule arrangements for one day throughout the eight weeks. Since the program will take place after school, an existing faculty member could serve as an instructor. Other community members such as a substitute teacher, parent, or mentor could also serve as the instructor.

The lesson plans were designed to inform and interest the students. PowerPoint presentations are featured each week to provide valuable information to the students that is also visually stimulating. The PowerPoint slides can also be edited and adapted to individual school’s needs. Many of the handouts involve group discussions and activities so that the students can build a community of support. As the students progress through the course, they are encouraged to share additional information that they find through these discussions and activities. In addition, students are encouraged to express their interests to their friends and family so that they will gain support at home as well as through school. Many of the weekly lessons contain simple checklists to ensure that the students stay on track. Finally, the program contains a pre- and post survey that will give the instructor feedback about the program. These surveys will hopefully ensure that the program continually improves and adapts to students’ changing needs.

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Chapter 4

LIMITATIONS

Although this curriculum was developed with adaptations for the needs of low socio-economic status students, there are still limitations. Although the curriculum is designed as an after school program, some students may not be able to participate because of other obligations. Those students may miss out on the valuable information the program has to offer.

Other limitations are at the district level. Funding and computer equipment may not be available in each district, especially in districts where there are large populations of low socio-economic status students. Though this project is designed to keep the financial and technological needs at a minimum, there are some requirements in order to use the program and curriculum to its full benefit.

Limitations at the state level can also become a problem. Every state has different graduation requirements. Since it is impossible to list the ever-changing graduation requirements of all 50 states, the instructor and school must ensure that potential students will graduate. It is the responsibility of the student and the school that they attend to make sure that they are qualified to apply for post-secondary education. Without completing this step, the program may not benefit the student.

Despite these limitations, the curriculum can be adapted to many situations and can benefit students given the right tools.

APPENDIX

Instructor Material

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30

INSTRUCTOR MATERIAL

Background Information for Apply Yourself!

The purpose of this curriculum was to develop an after school program for 11 th

and 12 th

grade Latino and African American students that are considering applying to a post-secondary institution. The curriculum focuses on the specific struggles that low socio-economic status students face with an eye towards Latino and African American students as they apply to institutions of higher education.

Intended Setting

Although this curriculum can be adapted for almost any setting, the intended setting is in an area with a population of low socio-economic status students. In many urban areas, this will also coincide with a large

Latino and African American student population. Instructors should be sure to investigate what their own states require for graduation from high school. Although the intended setting helped to shape the curriculum, the instructor can make adaptations as necessary for his or her own students and align it with individual state standards.

Intended Participants

The intended participants for this project are 11 th

and 12 th

grade low socio-economic status students who would like to attend a post-secondary institution. The students that will benefit most from the program are students that have few or no family members that have attended a postsecondary institution. The program can also be adapted for students from minority backgrounds, such as Latino or African American students.

Instruments

Some of the instruments used to design this curriculum were taken from current programs that assist students with both academic preparation for college, as well as the application process. The GEAR UP program, the AVID program, and the National College Advising Corps helped

31 influence specific areas of instruction that need to be addressed for low socio-economic status students. Websites were also highly used in order to gain current information to help plan individual lessons and activities.

The American Council on Education, The College Board, and ACT Inc. were used to gain ideas for lesson plans and background information for students. Books regarding the application process were also used to inspire lesson plans and to gain background knowledge valuable for students. The learning outcomes were derived from the lesson plans and materials.

Design

The design of the project developed with the time constraints in mind for both the intended students and the intended instructors. Since most schools are set to a fixed daily schedule with no room for additions, the curriculum was designed as an after school program. The program was designed to take place once a week for eight weeks, with an optional second session each week for questions or lab time. Each session lasts for

90 minutes. Although many students may have additional responsibilities, they may be able to schedule arrangements for one day throughout the eight weeks. Since the program will take place after school, an existing faculty member could serve as an instructor. Other community members such as a substitute teacher, parent, or mentor could also serve as the instructor

The lesson plans were designed to inform and interest the students.

PowerPoint presentations are featured each week to provide valuable information to the students that is also visually stimulating. The

PowerPoint slides can also be edited and adapted to individual school’s needs. Many of the handouts involve group discussions and activities so that the students can build a community of support. As the students progress through the course, they are encouraged to share additional information that they find through these discussions and activities. In addition, students are encouraged to express their interests to their friends and family so that they will gain support at home as well as through school. Many of the weekly lessons contain simple checklists to ensure that the students stay on track. Finally, the program contains a pre- and

post survey that will give the instructor feedback about the program.

These surveys will hopefully ensure that the program continually improves and adapts to students’ changing needs.

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33

INSTRUCTOR MATERIAL

How to Use This Curriculum Manual

For the Instructor:

Apply Yourself!

is an eight-week course that aims to help students successfully research and apply to colleges and universities. This curriculum was designed to assist students from low socio-economic backgrounds, including Latino and African American students. Although college enrollment is up overall, there is still a huge gap between the enrollment rates of Caucasian students and the enrollment rates of Latino and African American students. After much research, four factors were determined that would help Latino and African American students. These students were more likely to apply when they had the following: adequate and current information about post-secondary institutions, access to resources, knowledge of filling out college applications, and an encouraging and supportive environment from teachers and peers. These four factors turned into the Student Learning Outcomes for the curriculum.

This manual will be broken down by weekly lessons. An introduction sheet can be found at the beginning of each week for the instructor, followed by the necessary handouts for students. For ease of use, all sheets pertaining to the instructor only have “INSTRUCTOR

MATERIAL” written above the heading (see example above). The

PowerPoint presentations can be found on the accompanying CD, so that an instructor may edit the content as necessary.

Although this course is aimed at assisting underserved populations that may not have much background information about post-secondary education, the lessons can be modified to meet the educational needs of most students. I hope you find this curriculum helpful for yourself and your students.

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INSTRUCTOR MATERIAL

Table of Contents

Week One: Introduction to the Course and to College

............................ 1

Handout: Welcome letter

................................................................................. 2

Handout: General schedule

............................................................................. 3

Handout: Pre-survey (what you expect from this course and me)

PowerPoint/Discussion: Types of colleges/

........ 5 universities

......................................................................... see accompanying CD

Handout: Information sheet for websites

Handout/Activity: Interest list

..................................................... 6

........................................................................ 7

Week Two: Researching Schools

..................................................................... 9

PowerPoint/Discussion: Researching a college/ university

........................................................................... see accompanying CD

Handout/Activity: What school is the best fit for me?

Handout/Activity: College research table

........................... 10

.................................................. 13

Week Three: Admission Standards and Applications

........................... 15

PowerPoint/Discussion: Admission standards and applications

........................................................................ see accompanying CD

Handout/Activity: Admission standards table

.......................................... 16

Week Four: Standardized Tests

..................................................................... 18

PowerPoint/Discussion: Standardized testing (SAT,

ACT, etc.)

.......................................................................... see accompanying CD

Handout/Activity: Resource sheet for standardized testing

.................. 19

Handout/Activity: Standardized test and registration table

.................. 20

35

Week Five: Letters of Recommendation

..................................................... 21

PowerPoint/Discussion: Letters of recommendation

............................................................... see accompanying CD

Handout/Activity: Bullet list of accomplishments

.................................. 22

Handout/Activity: Letter of recommendation table

................................ 23

Week Six: The Personal Statement

............................................................... 25

PowerPoint/Discussion: The personal statement

............................................................................ see accompanying CD

Handout/Activity: Brainstorming important events

................................ 26

Handout/Activity: Sample personal statement prompts

Handout/Activity: Note sheet for personal statements

......................... 27

........................... 28

Week Seven: College Is How Much?!

.......................................................... 30

PowerPoint/Discussion: Financial aid (PARENTS

ARE WELCOME)

.......................................................... see accompanying CD

Activity: Sample FAFSA and scholarship forms

.................................... 31

Week Eight: Wrap up!

...................................................................................... 32

PowerPoint/Discussion: Next steps

............................. see accompanying CD

Guest Speakers: Current college students will

 answer questions and offer advice

............................... see accompanying CD

Handout: Post-survey

...................................................................................... 33

36

INSTRUCTOR MATERIAL

Week One: Introduction to the Course and to College

For the Instructor:

This week will be the introduction to the entire

Apply Yourself!

course. During this class, students will take a pre-survey that will inform you of their expectations of the course. They will learn about the different types of post-secondary education institutions. They will also learn about available resources to help locate more information about college in general. Please read through these surveys and adapt this curriculum as necessary to fit your students’ needs.

Learning Objectives for Week One:

Students will identify and describe different types of post-secondary institutions.

Students will identify and list their personality traits.

Students will rank their perspective career fields.

Materials for Week One:

Student Handout: Introduction letter to students - “Welcome to Apply

Yourself!”

Student Handout: Tentative schedule - “Apply Yourself! Schedule and Topic

Introduction”

Student Handout: Pre-survey - “Apply Yourself! Pre-Survey”

PowerPoint Presentation: “Types of Schools” *

Student Handout: “Information Sheet for Websites”

Student Handout: Interest list - “Turn Your Interests into Careers!” **

*The PPT presentation can be found on the accompanying data CD so that you may edit the presentation as necessary.

**This assignment may be completed in class or for homework , depending on time

1

37

Welcome to Apply Yourself!

Education is more important than ever when it comes to finding a career. More and more jobs are requiring an education than ever before.

Those who hold a Bachelor’s degree also have a higher annual salary. This course plans to help you with applying and getting accepted into the college or university that will help you achieve your career goals. Although this course will help you with the basics and will give you a lot of information, it cannot give you everything. Here is a list of what this program plans to help you accomplish:

Helping you choose a career

Helping you find an education program for your career

Helping you understand the different types of post-secondary institutions

Informing you how to apply

Assisting you with your applications

Informing you on financial costs

Notice that YOU will be doing most of the work, and your teacher will be guiding you. Although everyone wishes for you to be successful, your teacher cannot do the work or make the decisions for you. This course will only help you if you put in the time and effort.

This course will typically meet for 8 weeks, with two 90-minute sessions each week. The first weekly session will give you information about steps in the application process. We will also perform activities that will help you think about each step, and help you make decisions for your future. The second weekly session is optional, but I will be there for any questions or assistance you may need. You can also come to the second weekly session if you simply need a quiet place to work on applications or need a computer.

Below you will find a general weekly schedule. I hope you all find this course helpful and fun. I look forward to working with each of you as you fulfill your goals and reach your dreams. It’s difficult to get anywhere if you don’t apply yourself, so let’s get to it!

Good Luck,

2

Name:

Apply Yourself! Schedule and Topic Introduction

This class will meet on ________________ and _________________.

The times of this class is from _______________ to ______________.

This class will meet at ______________________________________.

If you need to contact me, please ______________________________.

Topics and Activities

Week One: Introduction to the Course and to College

We will review some general guidelines and information about the course.

We will learn about the different types of colleges and universities.

Week Two: Researching Schools

We will discuss how to gather information about colleges and universities.

We will discuss how to pick a school that is a good fit.

Week Three: Admission Standards and Applications

We will learn about the requirements to apply to a college or university.

We will learn about the format and parts of an application.

We will learn how to gather this information from potential schools.

3

38

Week Four: Standardized Tests

We will learn about standardized tests.

We will learn how to find out what tests are necessary.

We will learn how to register for standardized tests.

Week Five: Letters of Recommendation

We will learn about letters of recommendation and why they are necessary.

We will discuss and list our accomplishments to use on letters of recommendation .

Week Six: The Personal Statement

We will learn about personal statements.

We will discuss sample personal statements.

We will discuss some of our events we may want to write about.

Week Seven: College Is How Much?!

We will discuss college cost and financial aid. (PARENTS AND

FAMILY ARE WELCOME!)

Week Eight: Wrap up!

We will discuss the last steps in the application process.

We will listen to guest speakers offer advice.

We will ask guest speakers any questions we have.

4

39

Apply Yourself! Pre-Survey

Directions: Please answer these questions truthfully and in detail.

1) What do you expect to get out of the Apply Yourself! program? (List specifics such as “writing skills,” “information about college,” “how to research schools,” etc.)

2) Do you want to go to college after you finish high school? Why?

3) How would you rate your writing ability on a scale of 1-10?

4) Do you already have some idea of where you want to go to school? If so, where? (You can list the actual name or what type of school it is.)

5) Whom do you discuss your after high school plans with? (Family?

Friends? teachers?) Do you feel they support your decisions?

6) If you were not to attend college in the future, what is your backup plan? (Would you work? Apply later? Others?)?

5

40

41

Name:

Information Sheet for Websites

During this course, you will be using two websites to assist you in your college search and application process. The first, KnowHow2Go.Org, is a website that can help you in the college search and application process.

This website can help you decide which classes to take, how to find a school, and when you should start each step. The second,

MappingYourFuture.Org, is a non-profit organization that can help you pick a career field and find a school to fit your interests.

Though you will not be using these sites all the time, you should explore both on your own. Use your lab time to take a look at both and get a head start. You can find timelines or information on where to find resources. As always, your teacher will be in the lab if you have any questions!

We will look at both websites together, but here is how to access each site when you are in the lab or away from school.

How to Access a Website:

1. Open your web browser program (Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox)

2. In the address bar, type in one of the following: http://www.knowhow2go.org

http://mappingyourfuture.org

3. Read the homepage to get a general introduction.

4. Explore!

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42

Name:

Turn Your Interests Into Careers!

Directions: Think about the questions below. Write down your answers in as much detail as possible.

What do you like to do for fun? (Examples: bike riding, reading, swimming, etc.)

What are some of the activities that you have enjoyed over the past few years? (Examples: Spanish Club, Football team, Future Teachers of

Chicago, tutoring, work, volunteering, etc.)

Directions: Complete the table on the next page with your answers above as best you can. We will discuss your answers in small groups and as a class.

(Adapted from http://mappingyourfuture.org

)

7

List activities you choose from the questions above.

Example:

Swim team

Example:

Babysitting

What did you enjoy about this activity? Why?

I enjoyed exercising and having fun.

I really like helping little kids.

What skills did you learn from this activity?

I learned how to train myself and others.

I learned how to be on time and responsible.

8

What careers can this lead to? Would you want this as a career?

Coach or PE teacher. Unsure.

Pediatric Nurse or Teacher.

Maybe.

43

44

INSTRUCTOR MATERIAL

Week Two: Researching Schools

For the Instructor:

This week will focus on assisting students with finding an institution that will fit their individual needs. During this class, students will learn about what factors they should consider when picking an institution. They will also learn about how to research these institutions to find necessary information. By the end of the lessons, students will have three schools chosen that may fit their needs. They will begin the application process with these three schools in the next lesson. Please read through these materials and adapt this curriculum as necessary to fit your students’ needs.

Learning Objectives for Week Two:

Students will identify and describe different qualities and traits of postsecondary institutions.

Students will identify what qualities of an institution are important.

Students will research their prospective post-secondary institutions.

Materials for Week Two:

PowerPoint Presentation: “Researching Schools: What to Consider” *

Handout: “What School is the Best Fit for Me?”

Handout: Researching schools – “So You Want to Go to College?” **

* The PPT presentation can be found on the accompanying data CD; you may edit the presentation as necessary.

** This assignment may be completed in class or for homework depending on time

9

45

Name:

What School Is the Best Fit for Me?

Directions (Part 1): Now that you have seen important factors for picking a school, it’s time to decide if a potential school is a good fit for you.

Think about the factors below and rank how important each one is to you.

Your ranking will help you decide how a school fits with personal and professional preferences. Remember: You are the one attending college.

Only consider what is important to you for right now. Don’t worry about your friends’ and family’s wishes for this part.

Give each category a numerical value based on the scale below:

5 - Can’t live without it!

4 - Very important to me.

3 - I don’t care either way.

2 - Not very important to me.

1 - Couldn’t care less!

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

Being far away from home

Being close to home

Being in an urban environment (large city)

Being in a rural environment (small town)

Being in the suburbs

Associating with other students that share my religion

7.

Associating with other students that share my ethnic background

8.

9.

Attending a school with a strong athletic program

Attending a school with a strong religious affiliation

10.

Attending a same-sex school

11.

Attending a campus with a conservative background

12.

Attending a campus with a liberal background

10

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

13.

Attending a school with a mild climate

14.

Attending a school with the same climate as where I live now

15.

Attending a school where it is warm year-round

16.

Going to a school where I have a lot of friends I already know

17.

Going to a school where I can live off campus my first year

18.

Attending a school with a large population of students

19.

Attending a school with a smaller student body

20.

Attending a school that is private

21.

Attending a public school

22.

Attending a school with a low cost for tuition and room/board

23.

Attending a school where I can live at home

24.

Attending a school where there is a large party crowd

25.

Attending a school where there are a lot of sororities/ fraternities

26.

Attending a school with a diverse cultural background

27.

Attending a campus that looks pretty

28.

Attending a school that is handicap accessible

29.

Attending a school that actively assists students with disabilities

30.

Attending a campus that is easy to get to without a car

31.

Attending a campus with a military connection

(ROTC, etc)

32.

Attending a campus with health services (health center, counseling, etc)

33.

Attending a school with opportunities o study abroad or off-campus

34.

Attending a school with a strong background in the major I have chosen

35.

Attending a school with research opportunities

36.

Attending a school with graduate programs

11

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

_____

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47

Directions (Part 2): After completing your ranking, look at the qualities in a college that you ranked a 4 or 5. Highlight these! They are probably the most important to you. One school may not have all of your 4’s and

5’s, so you might have to compromise. You also might have to choose between what is important to you personally and professionally. For example, if you want to attend a school in a small town, but you want to be a businessperson in a large city, you may not have as many opportunities to work with urban businesses at your school. Or you might want to be far away from home, but you also want to go to a school where you already know people. In this case, you also have to pick what is more important to you.

Directions (Part 3): Let’s discuss in groups first, then as a class:

1. Which qualities were most important to you (your 4’s and 5’s)?

2. Why are they important?

3. Can you think of any schools that fit these qualities? (If you can’t think of any, that’s ok! Now that you know how to research a school, you can start looking for one that meets many of your 4’s and 5’s!)

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48

Name:

So You Want to Go to College?

Directions: Here are some important questions to consider when looking at different schools. Choose 3 schools that you are interested in and write the answers to the questions in the table. A good place to gather information may be the school’s website or pamphlet. If you are interested in more than 3 schools, ask me for a second sheet.

School 1: School 2: School 3:

Web Address:

Is this school public or private?

Estimated tuition per year?

Estimated cost of room and board?

Where is the school located? Is it urban, suburban, rural?

What are some things to do in the community?

Does this school offer the type of program you are interested in?

Is this school close to your friends and family?

Overall, can you imaging being happy here for 4 years?

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49

Use this table to fill in some of your 4’s and 5’s from the previous assignment. Check whether or not each school can accommodate your 4’s and 5’s. If a school does not have many of the qualities you find important, you may want to think about choosing a new school to research. We will do an example together.

School 1 School 2 School 3 Quality that is important to me:

Being close to home (Chicago)

Now fill in the top 3 schools below you will be applying to based on how well they fit your personal and professional needs.

School 1 School 2 School 3

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50

INSTRUCTOR MATERIAL

Week Three: Admission Standards and Applications

For the Instructor:

This week will focus on researching the admission requirements for schools. Students will learn how to locate this information for the schools they are applying to. They will also learn how to print applications or fill them out online. Since most applications are submitted electronically, students can print out the paper version as practice, then transfer the information to their electronic applications when they apply. Please read through the materials and adapt this curriculum as necessary to fit your students’ needs.

Learning Objectives for Week Three:

Students will identify specific admission requirements for potential schools.

Students will locate applications for potential schools.

Students will compare the admission requirements with their academic history.

Materials for Week Three:

PowerPoint Presentation: “Admission Standards and Applications” *

Handout: Table for comparing admission standards. “How Do I Get In?”

* The PPT presentation can be found on the accompanying data CD so that you may edit the presentation as necessary.

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51

Name:

How Do I Get In?

Directions: Complete the table for the 3 schools you are interested in. If you don’t know what specific program/college you are applying to, leave it blank for now.

School 1: School 2: School 3:

When is the application

DEADLINE for

Freshmen?

What specific department and/or program do I want to apply to?

Is there a separate application for the school/program you want to apply to?

What is the application fee? Is it free if you apply online?

How many letters of recommendation are required?

What do I need to attach anything to the application

(photo, transcripts, etc.)

How long must the statement of purpose be? (Word or page count)

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52

Is a SAT/ACT score required?

How many years/semesters of

Math are required?

How many years/semesters of

English are required?

How many years/semesters of

Science?

Did you print out the minimum admission requirements?

Did you print out a paper application (if applicable)?

Let’s Discuss: Look at the admission requirements for your potential schools. Do you meet the minimum admission requirements? Think about the questions below. We will discuss them as a class.

1. What can I do if I am missing a class that I need in order to apply?

2. Am I willing to wait a year if I am missing some requirements?

3. Will I be able to meet this deadline with all of my other commitments

(such as work, babysitting, volunteering, sports, etc.)?

4. Should I apply as an Early Decision applicant?

5. Should I apply to this school even if I don’t know what I want to major in?

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53

INSTRUCTOR MATERIAL

Week Four: Standardized Testing

For the Instructor:

This week will focus on informing your students about standardized testing. Students will learn about the different types of standardized tests that schools use in the admission process. They will also learn about other standardized tests that can help them earn college credit. The PowerPoint

Presentation and handout give websites and references where students can register and prepare for the tests. Please read through the materials and adapt this curriculum as necessary to fit your students’ needs.

Learning Objectives for Week Four:

Students will distinguish between different standardized tests.

Students will assess which standardized tests they need.

Students will locate standardized testing registration dates and costs.

Materials for Week Four:

PowerPoint Presentation: “Standardized Tests” *

Handout: References for standardized tests- “Standardized Testing

Resources”

Handout: Testing registration and dates table- “When Do I Need to Test?”

* The PPT presentation can be found on the accompanying data CD so that you may edit the presentation as necessary.

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Name:

Standardized Testing Resources

1. http:// www.collegeboard.com

(Click on the “For Students” Link)

Use this resource to…

 find dates and cost for the SAT (I and II). register for the SAT (I and II). help find a college for you. get help with applications. purchase SAT study materials. find financial aid and scholarship info. order extra score reports to send to your potential schools.

2. http:// www.actstudent.org

Use this resource to…

 find dates and cost for the ACT.

 register for the ACT. help find a college for you. get help with applications. purchase ACT study materials. find financial aid and scholarship info. order extra score reports to send to your potential schools.

3. http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/ap/about.html

Use this resource to…

 learn about AP programs and testing. (You can also talk to your teachers to see if classes are available for you)

4. Your local public library

Use this resource to…

 find FREE books to help you study for the SAT or ACT. find FREE books to help you apply to college. gain FREE internet and computer access.

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4.

5.

2.

3.

Example:

University of

Ill Urbana

1.

Name:

When Do I Need To Test?

Directions: Use this table below to write down critical information for the standardized tests you need to take. Keep in mind that you need to give the testing authority enough time to send your scores to your potential schools. For example, you can’t take the ACT on Dec 23 if the

Application is due Dec 31. Once you know the dates for registration and testing, write them in your planner so you won’t forget!

School Name

Application

Deadline

01/02/2010

Test you need to take

ACT or

SAT

Test you will take

ACT

Date you need to take

ACT/SAT

10/24/2009

Date you must register for

ACT/SAT

09/18/2009

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INSTRUCTOR MATERIAL

Week Five: Letters of Recommendation

For the Instructor:

This week will focus on informing your students about letters of recommendation. Students will learn what they need to do before they ask a person for a letter of rec. They will also learn how much time and what information they need to give the referrer. The PowerPoint Presentation will give students the information on letters of recommendations. The first handout will help students develop a bullet list of their achievements to give to each referrer. The second handout will help students create a timeline so they will not miss any deadlines. Please read through the materials and adapt this curriculum as necessary to fit your students’ needs.

Learning Objectives for Week Five:

Students will define letters of recommendation.

Students will identify and evaluate potential referrers.

Students will compose prep materials for referrers.

Materials for Week Five:

PowerPoint Presentation: “Letters of Recommendation” *

Handout: Bullet list of accomplishments- “What Should They Say About

Me?”

Handout: Letter of recommendation table- “5 W’s of Letters of

Recommendation”

* The PPT presentation can be found on the accompanying data CD so that you may edit the presentation as necessary.

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Name:

What Should They Say About Me?

Directions: Think about why you would be an asset to the schools you are applying to. What makes you special? Why should they pick you over someone else? You know yourself better than anyone else, so you need to give this information to your referrer. There may be many things that you do that the writer of your letter may not know about. Start by writing down a list of accomplishments or activities that you have done. You can give this list to your referrer. Tell them how to contact you in case they have questions or need more information from you.

What I Did:

(Be specific)

Ex) Volunteered at a day camp for Chicago

Park District for

3-4 year olds

How Long:

3 hours a day,

M-F, for 6 weeks during my summer vacation

Special

Awards/Impact on Community:

Received a certificate for my hard work

What I learned from this experience:

I learned to be patient and how to work hard

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Name:

5 W’s of Letters Recommendation

Directions: Writing a letter of rec is hard work for both you and the writer. They need to know specific information from you in order to write a great recommendation. Use this table to keep yourself organized. You can give your referrer a copy of this list if you choose.

Many schools have specific forms that the referrer must fill out. If this is the case, give the form to your referrer and fill in as much information as you can. Use the checklist on the back of this page to guide you.

Who am I asking to write this letter?

What school are they sending it

Where will they send the letter?

When do they need to mail it? When do I need to give

Why are they a good reference? to?

University of Illinois

Urbana

Admissions

123 Fake St.

Urbana, IL

61801 it to them?

01/02/2010

11/01/2009

I’m getting a good grade.

He sees me work hard.

Mr. Jones

(my

Biology teacher)

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Checklist:

For each referrer, did you remember to…

_____ *

give the writer some notes about your accomplishments?

_____ * give the writer the required form (if applicable)?

_____ * fill out as much of the reference form as you can (if applicable)?

_____ * give the writer an addressed envelope so they know where to send it?

_____ * stamp the envelope so they don’t have to pay for postage?

_____ * tell the writer when the recommendation must be mailed by?

_____ * give the writer ample time to write the letter for you?

_____ * give the writer your contact information if they have questions?

_____ * say thank you for their time?

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INSTRUCTOR MATERIAL

Week Six: The Personal Statement

For the Instructor:

This week will focus on writing the personal statement. Although it is only a brief glimpse into the personal lives of the applicants, it is one of few opportunities for the student to share their challenges, experiences, and personal goals with the admissions office. This important piece of the application needs to be emphasized to students. The PowerPoint presentation focuses on defining a personal statement and will offer tips. The presentation also informs students where they can find resources if they need help.

Finally, the presentation will feature sample personal statements that the instructor will find. The handouts are to help students brainstorm and identify certain life events that might be useful for the essay prompts. The final handout features a notes page and a checklist so that the students can begin writing their essays. Please read through these materials and adapt this curriculum as necessary to fit your students’ needs.

Learning Objectives for Week Six:

Students will identify the components of a personal statement.

Students will evaluate sample personal statements for clarity and content.

Students will compose a personal statement for their potential schools.

Materials for Week Six:

PowerPoint Presentation: “The (Dreaded) Personal Statement” *

Handout: Brainstorming important events- “Let’s Brainstorm!”

Handout: “Sample Personal Statement Prompts”

Handout: Note sheet for personal statement- “Personal Statement Notes”

* The PPT presentation can be found on the accompanying data CD so that you may edit the presentation as necessary.

** This assignment may be completed in class or for homework depending on time.

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Name:

Let’s Brainstorm!

Directions: Think about and write down some things that are important to you in the boxes surrounding the circle of “YOU” below. How has each topic impacted your life? How will each circle continue to impact your life?

Example:

When I was

13, I moved to

Chicago from

Mexico with my family.

YOU

Let’s Discuss:

What makes you who you are?

What are some events that have changed your life?

What made you decide to follow these career goals?

How can we transfer the chart above into a personal statement?

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Name:

Sample Personal Statement Prompts

Directions: Below are some sample personal statement prompts. In small groups, answer the discussion questions that follow. We will talk about your answers as a class.

Sample Prompts:

1. How do you envision the year 2050?

2. If you could meet anyone (real or imaginary, alive or dead), who would it be and why?

3. Describe one moment that changed your life.

4. How will your education at this school help you achieve your goals?

Discussion Questions:

What would I say about this topic?

Are there certain things that shouldn’t be mentioned?

What are they looking for from me in this question? (For example: a personal struggle, a personal success, a brief summary of who I am, etc)

(Adapted from: http://www.collegeboard.org)

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Name:

Personal Statement Notes

Directions: Take a look at the personal statement prompt from the school you are applying to. Write it down on this sheet. Use the blank space to brainstorm or to write notes. Make sure you have a separate sheet for each prompt.

Write the prompt here:

___________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________

This essay is DUE on: _____________

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Writing the personal statement is usually the hardest part of the application. It is a lot of work, but it is also a great opportunity to really be creative and show who you really are. Remember that you can do it!

Use this checklist to make sure your essay has everything it needs.

Checklist:

Did you remember to…

_____ * capture the reader’s attention with a strong opener?

_____ * make sure you have a main point or theme?

_____ * follow your main point throughout your essay?

_____ * make sure you have a beginning, middle, and end?

_____ * answer the prompt or question asked?

_____ * be creative and original in your essay?

_____ * proofread your essay and have someone else proofread it?

_____ * stay under the word count?

_____ * submit your essay before the deadline?

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INSTRUCTOR MATERIAL

Week Seven: College Is How Much?!

For the Instructor:

This week will focus on paying for college. The PowerPoint presentation gives students an introduction to FAFSA, student loans, grants, and scholarships. It is strongly encouraged that you invite the parents/guardians of the students – students will need their help when filling out the paperwork. It is also encouraged that you find out about any financial aid nights at community centers or other public venues; these are invaluable resources to students and families.

Please read through these materials and adapt this curriculum as necessary to fit your students’ needs.

Learning Objectives for Week Seven:

Students will understand the different types of financial aid available.

Students will apply the knowledge learned to apply for financial aid.

Materials for Week Seven:

PowerPoint Presentation: “College Is How Much?!” *

Handout: “Financial Aid Resources”

* The PPT presentation can be found on the accompanying data CD so that you may edit the presentation as necessary

30

Name:

Financial Aid Resources

This is a very brief list of resources to help you secure financial aid. If you find other resources that are helpful, share them with the class! All the paperwork required takes time, but is worth it in the end. There are millions of dollars waiting to be claimed. Don’t let it go to waste!

General Financial Aid Info:

Off To College - http://www.offtocollege.com/financial-aid/index.html

College Board- http://www.collegeboard.com/student/pay/

ACT- http://actstudent.org/finaid/index.html

KnowHow2Go- http://www.knowhow2go.org/seniors_costs.php

U.S. Department of Education- http://studentaid.ed.gov/

College.Gov- http://www.college.gov

Scholarships:

FastWeb- http://www.fastweb.com

College Scholarships- http://www.collegescholarships.org

FAFSA:

FAFSA Home- http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/

Student Loans:

Sallie Mae- http://www.salliemae.com

Federal Direct- http://www.ed.gov/directloan/

(Many private banks also offer student loans)

Others:

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INSTRUCTOR MATERIAL

Week Eight: Wrap Up!

For the Instructor:

This week will focus on the final steps of the application process.

The PowerPoint presentation will give students tips on what to do once they have sent off their applications. It will also give them some strategies for success. This week’s lesson also requires a guest speaker to answer questions your students may have and to offer useful advice. The final task is for your students to complete the post survey so that the program may continue to improve for future students. Please read through these materials and adapt this curriculum as necessary to fit your students’ needs.

Learning Objectives for Week Eight:

Students will identify the last steps in the application process.

Students will apply what they have learned to submit their applications.

Materials for Week Eight:

PowerPoint Presentation: “Next Steps” *

Guest Speaker: Current college students will talk about their experiences and will answer questions from your students

Handout: “Apply Yourself! Post Survey”

* The PPT presentation can be found on the accompanying data CD so that you may edit the presentation as necessary

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Apply Yourself! Post-Survey

Directions: Now that you have completed the program, please help improve it for the next session by giving your feedback. Please be detailed in your response (as you now know how important details are). Don’t be afraid to be honest!

1) What did you like best about the program?

2) What did you like least?

3) Are there topics that you wished we covered that weren’t? What are they?

4) Do you feel this program helped you with your application process? How?

5) Would you recommend this program to another student?

6) The biggest improvement for this program should be…

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