St. Charles Community College welcomed 76 high school students to visit and learn about the college April 24-26, as part of the new Smart Start to Success Outreach Program. The program was made possible by the Missouri Department of Higher Education’s College Access Challenge Grant, a grant that challenges students to pursue post-secondary educational opportunities.
SCC student Claire Schwab (center) eats lunch with students visiting from Wright City High School on Friday, April 26.
“The new program provided students with information, strategies and resources to help make a successful transition to college, many of whom might face a variety of obstacles,” said Tammie De Los Santos, SCC manager of workforce development initiatives. “The grant helped the schools defer the costs related to participating in this event.”
Students from Orchard Farm, Winfield, Elsberry and Wright City schools participated in the event, and nearly all of the students were able to register for fall classes at SCC the same day of the visit.
While on campus, students had the opportunity to take a portion of their placement test, meet with counselors to determine their schedule, utilize SCC’s Smart Start online program and register for classes. The day also included presentations on financial aid, the A+ Schools Program and SALT, a financial literacy program. Students took tours of the campus and had lunch with SCC’s Phi Theta Kappa honor students.
“I thought the day was tremendously valuable for our students,” said Eric Schroer, a guidance counselor at Orchard Farm High School. “Many of them would have had a great deal of anxiety about coming up to SCC alone to setup their placement testing, enroll in courses, and familiarize themselves with the campus. This day allowed them to complete these tasks fully and it opened their eyes to exactly how close they are to becoming college students.”
“This format keeps the students accountable when they say they plan to go to college,” said Brian Legate, SCC coordinating counselor. “The students all graduate together and they come to SCC together.”
The program was one of several college and career readiness initiatives in 2012-13, funded with the $98,675 Missouri Department of Higher Education College Access Challenge Grant.
This grant served the students of Orchard Farm, Winfield, Elsberry, Wright City and Montgomery County school districts. Students were able to participate in college planning and preparation, financial management and career exploration workshops. High school students also had the opportunity to participate in a variety of other college readiness initiatives including – ACT preparation, tutoring, and Achieving Success in College Math, a program which emphasizes the importance of taking math their senior year. Middle school students also participated in a college and career academy spring break program and were able to attend a SCC nursing and science career day.
SCC also used some of the funding to launch a new community-wide website, BeReadyForTheFuture.com, which provides access to college and career readiness resources.
In 2012-13 MDHE awarded $1.5 million in federal funds to 17 groups to reach underserved students.
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