college readiness & career exploration

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  • College Readiness & Career Exploration

    The Value of Engaging High School Students in Experiential Learning before College

    Moderator: Marie Schwartz CEO, TeenLife Media Nina Hoe Study Director at the Institute for Survey Research, Temple University

    Jessica DeSantis - Senior Associate Director of Admissions, Lehigh University Michael Pina Director of College Guidance, Greens Farms Academy

  • Why This Topic?

    Experiential learning is growing in importance:

    Employers find digital natives lack soft skills. Students not adequately prepared for college. Colleges like Harvard, Princeton, and Tufts

    encouraging gap years.

    We want to help you prepare students for a better future through experiential learning.

  • Agenda

    Gap Year Alumni Research Nina Hoe College Admissions Perspective Jessica

    DeSantis

    High School Counselor Perspective Michael Pina

    Suggestions for Schools Q&A

  • Gap Year Alumni Research Nina Hoe, Temple University

  • Definition of a Gap Year

    A Gap Year is a structured period of time when students take a break from formal education to increase self-awareness, challenge comfort zones, and experiment with possible careers. Typically these are achieved by a combination of traveling, volunteering, interning, or working.

  • Research Goals

    Conducted survey among 600+ Americans who took a gap year in order to:

    Better understand their experiences. Share findings with prospective gap year

    students, parents, alumni, high schools, counselors, colleges, programs, etc.

  • Why They Took a Gap Year: Top 3 Answers

    1. Gain life experience / grow personally 2. Travel / see world 3. Take a break from academic path

  • Reported Impact

    My Gap Year

    0% 20%

    40% 60% 80% Agreed/Strongly Agreed

    100%

    Helped me develop as a

    person. Allowed me time for

    personal reflection.

    Increased my

    maturity. Increased my

    self--confidence.

    Helped me learn to interact with people from backgrounds different from my own.

    Helped me develop communication

    skills. Increased my interest in knowing people and places

    around the world.

    Helped me develop a greater understanding and/or respect for cultures and customs oth..

    Helped me acquire skills to be successful in my

    career. Instilled an appreciation for and belief in the importance of

    human rights.

    Made me see myself as a global

    citizen. Inspired me to be more active in following global current

    events and politics.

    Helped me find purpose in my

    life. Will or has impacted my career

    decision.

    Helped (or will help) me get a

    job Increased my readiness for

    college.

    Inspired me to be an active volunteer in the global community.

    Inspired me to be an active volunteer in my local community.

    Increased my interest in attending

    college. Helped me determine what I wanted to

    study in college.

    Influenced me to take foreign language classes.

    Increased my chances of completing

    college. Allowed me to place out of foreign language

    requirement in college.

    84%

    77%

    75%

    73%

    59%

    57%

    54%

    38%

    27%

    93%

    90%

    83% 82% 82%

    72%

    70%

    98% 98% 97% 96%

    94% 93%

    77%

    Self--reported Gap Year Impacts Category Career

    Colleg

    e

    Global

    Engagement

    Personal

  • Most Important Experiences

    Being in a new and different environment Relationships with peers Relationships with others, including local families,

    children and community members

    Traveling independently Volunteering

  • College Admissions Perspective Jessica DeSantis

  • Key Life Skills Needed for College

    Willingness to expand horizons Ambition Pursuit of personal passions Genuine interest Resiliency Ability to learn from failure/ask for help Time management Group living skills

  • Choosing Activities

    Quality over quantity Time involved Skills/talent/knowledge required Accomplishments earned

  • Most Meaningful Activities

    Pursuit of passion Growth potential Leadership development Trying something new/different

  • High School Counselor Perspective Michael Pina

  • Address the Age-Old Questions

    Can good extracurricular activities get a student into a college?

    Do they matter to college admissions officers? How much do they count? How many extracurricular activities should a

    student be involved in? What is the role of the extensive resume

    addendum to the Common Application list?

  • Activities Reported on Common App 2012-13

    Avg. # of activities reported by 721K applicants: 5.9 Avg. # of activities reported by applicants with known secondary school type:

    Charter: 5.4

    Home school: 5.5

    Independent: 7.3

    Public: 6.1

    Religious: 6.7 Avg. # of activities reported by applicants who submitted ED/REA applications: 7.7

  • Most Common Activities on Common App

    1. JV/Varsity Sport 2. Community Service (Volunteer) 3. Other Club/Activity 4. Work (Paid) 5. Academic 6. Music: Instrumental

  • Use the Four Ps

    Experiment with activities or summer programs that are interesting TO YOU!

    Performance Program

    Potential Person

  • Program

    Meaningful activities include:

    Academic, social and international programs Volunteer/paying jobs Study abroad Summer College Classes

  • Performance

    The name of the program does not matter!

    Students are NOT unique JUST because of

    participating in established, selective programs!

  • Potential

    Find experiences that stretch your comfort zone!

    Keeping notes on thoughts before and after the experience makes a good foundation for

    launching authentic and powerful essays!

  • Person

    Character matters to all of the colleges!

    Being privileged and being entitled are NOT the same thing!

  • Suggestions for Schools

    Invite alumni to give testimonials/presentations Distribute a custom list of reputable programs

    accessible to school community

    Offer program AND college info sessions Start educating parents in 9th grade. Provide access to resources like TeenLife.com Ask teachers to encourage students to engage in

    out-of-school programs.

    Survey students and parents about meaningful summer programs/activities.

  • Questions? Marie Schwartz, mschwartz@teenlife.com

    Nina Hoe, ninahoe@gmail.com Jessica DeSantis, jessicadesantis@lehigh.edu

    Michael Pina, mpina@gfacademy.org