The High School Plan: Commit to Graduate
Jan27

The High School Plan: Commit to Graduate

January 26, 2012Z. Kelly Queijo "Where do I want my student to be four years from now?" Those were the first words I heard as I entered the packed high school auditorium where orientation for rising 9th graders was being held. I stood along the sidelines listening as the principal continued with his address encouraging the restless 8th graders and their parents to "make a plan." The next words he spoke were golden: "It's too early to be obsessing about college, but not too early to be thinking about college." I was moved by the wisdom of his words and vowed not to become college-obsessed over the choices my 8th grader would make but, deep-down, I knew it was already too late.  I had come to the meeting with the next four years mapped out in my mind. I even had a stock-pile of  "what if" scenarios stored up as if they were emergency rations that might be needed during the expedition to get my child into college.   When the lecture portion of the meeting was over, we all made our way to the gym for refreshments and the opportunity to chat with teachers and guidance counselors. I stood among the parents, specifically the inner circle of moms, while a few dads hovered along the outer edges. We crowded around the counselor responsible for our section of the alphabet, last names beginning with Q-Z.   Moms fired questions at the counselor: Does my child have to take a lunch period?  Can he take AP classes in 9th grade? What classes offer dual enrollment in 9th grade? Is Earth Science required? Can she take Honors Biology instead? Shocked by the intensity displayed in their faces and the urgency in their voices, as well as the statements about their children being pre-law, pre-med, or needing four years of Latin and every AP science class offered, I realized that maybe I was not as college-obsessed as I thought. Also, I was pretty sure that as an 8th grader, my kid was not "pre-anything," yet. I held back, marveling at how well the counselor answered each question with patience and care for the overall well-being of the student. He provided the technical answers to curriculum questions and still managed to gently remind us that course selection needs to also fit the student's life and learning style, and that a lunch period really is a necessity.  Once their appetite for information was satisfied, the moms turned away one by one and I ventured forward to ask my question: "If my child is in an honors class and decides it's too challenging, can he...

Read More
Top Take Aways from BecomeAlum on CampusChat
Jun03

Top Take Aways from BecomeAlum on CampusChat

Christina McIntyre, BecomeAlum founder, shared her college advising insights on #CampusChat, June 2, 2010. The main topic was academic planning and covered everything from deciding on a major to graduation rates to paying for college. It was a fascinating discussion with terrific input from all who participated. Here are some of the top take-aways from Christina: Look up grad rates on collegeresults.org then ask schools how they are trying to improve Coming to an advising meeting with a plan of study really impresses an advisor and starts the dialog It can be very telling during a visit to school w/ low graduation rate to ask a variety of people what they are doing to improve During a visit ask about advising. If you type "Advising" on a college website what comes up? This can be telling. 4-year graduation rate = 38%;  6 yr rate = ~ 60% at US college/universities It was clear that better academic planning is needed to meet enrollment, graduation, and financial goals for students and institutions. To read the entire exchange, click on the transcript link below. Transcript for #campuschat 06/02/10 Feel free to contact Christina McIntyre via email at: [email protected], on Twitter @BecomeAlum,  and visit BecomeAlum.com to learn more about how their academic planning tool can impact student...

Read More
Top 10 Questions for the Undecided Major
Mar10

Top 10 Questions for the Undecided Major

Applying undecided is fine, provided the college in question has a good program for helping new students explore available majors. Deciding where to apply is just one of the important decision points on the path to college. Deciding which major to choose is another, and with many schools offering anywhere from 40 – 70 majors, the number of choices alone can be overwhelming. The good news is that it’s usually OK to enter college as “undecided.” Many schools offer freshmen experience or introductory programs to help students navigate the choices and make good decisions about their futures.  If you’re not sure about what to declare as your major, or what impact entering college as “undecided” will have on your future options, we suggest asking the following questions during your campus visit: Q1: What guidance do students receive towards helping identify a major that would be a good fit? Q2: Is there a course students should take the first semester to help in the search for a major? Q3: What is the average time to a degree for a student who enters the university “undecided?” Q4: What majors are restricted? Q5: What are the restrictions? Q6: Is there an application process for restricted majors? Q7: Is the restriction capacity or performance driven? Q8: How likely is it that a student who meets the qualifications will be able to enter a specific restricted major? Q9: What is the percentage of students who apply for a restricted major who get accepted? Q10: How many students typically enter your school as undecided? *** Christina McIntyre, developer of BecomeAlum, an academic planning tool for enrolled students, recommended the above list of questions as follow up to an earlier post: BecomeAlum Founder on Planning Your College...

Read More

BecomeAlum Founder on Planning Your College Career

If you're a junior or senior in high school, you're probably more concerned with getting into college rather than getting out of college. The questions you ask during your college visit are most likely focused on admissions application requirements and deadlines rather than graduation rates and what it takes to complete a degree in a four years. However, once you do get in, understanding what's involved in meeting the academic degree requirements to graduate become a priority. It may be worthwhile to ask a few questions about course offerings, availability, and academic planning when you visit. In other words, "What does it take to graduate in four years and how many students do so?" is a great question to ask. Here's Christina McIntyre talking about how an online academic planning tool like BecomeAlum helps students know exactly what's required by their major and when the necessary courses are offered giving the student control over his or her future. For more information about BecomeAlum, please visit:...

Read More