By Kristine Johnson
College Prep Specialist
The journey to and through college can be challenging for even the most prepared of students. Often times, the skills needed for success in collegiate environments aren’t explicit; preparedness should not be reduced solely to the mastery of effective study skills coupled with proper time management, although these tools have value. The individual who attends university and walks away a graduate will attribute his or her success to multiple factors, many of which were learned through trial and error long after the first day on campus.
The College and Career Readiness Program was created for high school seniors heading to college. Although many graduates will transition from high school to college relatively smoothly, an alarming number will find themselves in uncharted waters without the support and guidance needed to navigate complicated tasks—this being especially true for first generation college students and students from low income, minority backgrounds. What has made this program successful has been the implementation of virtual badging technology—similar to Boy Scout badges—to guide our college-bound youth step by step through their initial summer transition. Students received badges for Community, Creator, Balance, Presence, Life Skills and more. By completing these badges, the participating youth learned skills that would help them be successful in their new environments (e.g., resumes, internship information, innovative essay writing and scholarship tools).
One of the programs members was Jabir M., who graduated from the Commonwealth Connections Academy this past June. Jabir will be attending Lincoln University in the fall; he is currently undecided on his major.
Jabir had this to say about the College and Career Readiness Program: “The college prep program has helped me find myself a little bit more. The caring, family-like atmosphere has allowed me to put myself out there more than I usually would have. I feel this change in me is due to the program. It has given me what I need to be mentally ready for college.” He goes on to say that his favorite experiences during the program were the discussions he shared with co-workers and college prep specialists, who he gained much from. Jabir is excited about college and attending Lincoln University: “I’m looking forward to learning new things, socially and academically."
For more information, please contact:
Free Library of Philadelphia
The Office of Public Service Support (TOPSS)
College Prep Program
1901 Vine Street, Room 5A
Philadelphia, PA 19103