While I was in the throws of coordinating and administering a standardized assessment to about 450 of our students (that was going to be online…for the first time…using only 30 computers), I learned that our district was about to celebrate College Awareness week and that every school had to participate in some way or another. College preparedness and development is certainly in a school counselor’s wheelhouse, but I needed some activities that 1) took very little planning and 2) didn’t require me to do anything in the classroom (because lessons for that month were already planned). This is what I came up with:
1. A bulletin board showing where various recognizable and diverse celebrities went to college. Under each celeb’s photo is the name of their college(s) and major(s).
2. College facts on the morning announcements. I gave our assistant principal this list of facts about college to read each morning over the morning announcements.
3. College fair t-shirt. Our district’s school counseling department had t-shirts made up for our college fair. I was a little hesitant about wearing it (I don’t wear many t-shirts to work) but the phrase ‘got college?’ written on the front sparked a lot of brief conversations with my 4th grade students about going to college, choosing a major, etc.
4. Classroom and office door decorating. Teachers were encouraged to decorate their doors for the college(s) they attended.
5. College t-shirt or college colors day. Our school doesn’t have uniforms but we have a pretty strict dress code (essentially chinos and polos) so days where students get a break from this are exciting. There was unfortunately low participation in this because most of our students’ parents did not attend college. I’ve decided next year we should make it college t-shirt OR college colors day.
6. Other classroom activities. Some of my teachers, especially the Teach for America ones, really jumped at the chance to include college awareness into their already packed days. Some of these ideas included: college discussion in morning messages, guest speakers doing college trivia, showing the Monsters University trailer, and students filling out faux college apps.
I’m bummed sometimes that I can’t do more college related (limited time, students have much more pressing needs) but I figure some exposure is better than no exposure to college/university.