College Options GEAR UP staff worked closely with 8th grade teachers to help students research colleges and then grouped them in groups of four to five students to then work on a college display to present in a college fair venue at the school’s Open House event in May.
Once the groups were chosen (there was 27 different colleges, university or technical/trade schools), teachers had students write and send letters to the different colleges asking for information, posters, brochures or anything else they could display on their boards. They also had very specific information to research on their college such as location and size of the school, programs and majors offered, cost of attendance, special programs, etc. Once the students completed their boards, they had to present them to their classes and other guests who volunteered to give feedback.
On the day of the event, students set up a display for viewing and dressed up in their school colors to represent their college or university and were asked to attend as part of their presentation grade for the project. Students gave their parents a special invite to attend the event that also included a College OPTIONs information table, a financial aid information table with information in both English and Spanish (a high school Spanish teacher volunteered to interpret if needed), a TRIO Talent Search table, and a table for the high school counselors to answer questions on registration and scheduling for out incoming 9th graders along with refreshments that were manned by the 8th grade teachers.
All of the efforts paid off with an amazing turn out of both students and parents to the Open House / College Fair! Hopefully this will be the first annual college fair event and it will continue each year as a way to help students and their parents get information about college.