“College ready” is a loaded concept for many students with a meaning that often implies more than a high GPA or a good SAT score.
It’s one of the big challenges for some students who enter into higher education, and it’s a pressing concern for educators throughout the country.
Results from a multi-year College and Career Readiness Survey of 165,000 high school students led by YouthTruth, a San Francisco-based nonprofit, found that 45 percent of junior and senior students feel positive about their college and career readiness.
More than 250 high schools across 31 states, including Arizona — partnered with the nonprofit to conduct the survey from the 2010-2011 to the 2014-2015 school years.
Participating students were also asked whether they used their school’s support services to help them achieve their future goals. Here are some of those results: 42 percent used college entrance exam preparation; 36 percent used counseling for help on future career possibilities; 34 percent used counseling for help on college admissions requirements; 32 percent used counseling for help on applying for college; 23 percent used counseling for help on paying for college.
Cochise College serves students who face similar barriers, particularly from those who do not test into college level classes and must take developmental courses.
A 2015 Governing Board report indicated students who place into developmental courses at Cochise College face similar barriers. These are barriers such as “a lack of understanding of learning styles, a lack of realistic educational and career goals, a lack of listening, speaking, note taking, studying, test-taking, time management and information literacy skills…”
These are skills that won’t be learned by cracking open a textbook, but they are problems that Cochise College aimed to solve by providing CPD 150, which is a student success class to teach essential life skills and prepare students for college.
“One of the things that Cochise College’s CPD 150 is providing is a game plan that helps those students be successful…” said Bryan Homrighausen, one of the three instructors who first piloted CPD 150 in 2015. The now popular class continues to fill up as the college recommends the course to more students as a place for mentorship and guidance in the academic world.
Cochise College aims to help by offering CPD 150, a student success class to teach essential life skills and prepare students for college. The class helps students understand learning styles; develop realistic education and career goals; and practice listening, speaking, note taking, studying, test-taking, time management and information literacy skills.
In its pilot class, 24 students attended the course. When outcomes showed that students did, in fact, improve in the classroom, the college opened the class to more students. Last year, nearly 500 students signed up for the CPD 150 class to gain skills and get “college ready.”
For Hailey Davis, a media arts major from Sierra Vista, college was a foreign concept to her, leaving her at a disadvantage during her freshmen year. Davis said she went to college dreaming of becoming a reporter, but during her first year, her lack of knowledge about the academic world almost led to the loss of her education and federal financial aid.
“I had no clue what I wanted to do. CPD 150 really taught me that you need to have your goal and that you need to plan as much as you can before you can achieve that goal,” said Davis. “They taught me about time management and how to manage my stress and how to make my goals achievable, how to assimilate college classes.”
Joseph Renegar, an incoming freshmen who also attended CPD 150 at Cochise College, faced family issues at home and illnesses that threatened to destroy his future.
“They taught me what it means to have grit, and how to succeed even through tough times,” Renegar said. “Grit is where you don’t tell yourself you can’t do something. You are supposed to say you can do it. If you say you can do it, then you will.”
Cochise College will continue to offer CPD 150 in the fall of 2017. Registration for fall classes is going on now.
Future students can find more information by visiting cochise.edu.