The downpour of rain did not prevent the more than 100 students and parents participating in the ECAP tour on an early Saturday morning in April. Overall, it was a good day for the students who were excited to be visiting the campus of the University of Tennessee.
Participating in the tour were elementary and middle school students accompanied by their parent(s)/guardian(s) in addition to school staff including principal’s. Tyvi Small welcomed the group before dividing everyone into two groups to attend breakout sessions.
Elementary school students attended a session facilitated by Ann Katherine Taylor and Christi Banks titled “You Can Go to College.” In this session, Ms. Taylor and Ms. Banks both told students that “THEY CAN GO TO COLLEGE” and provided tips for ensuring that they are college ready that included (1) establishing good study habits and study hard to make good grades and (2) making sure they stay in school. Middle school students attended a session designed for their age group titled “College is Affordable.” Eric Stokes facilitated this session and gave the students tips on applying for scholarships and told them that the way to be successful in school is to stay in school – number one, remain focused, and study hard to make good grades. A parent said: “The college workshop for middle school students was great. Mr. Stokes did a wonderful job.”
Following the sessions, students toured the college campus while parents attended sessions designed for them. There were two sessions and the first was titled “What are Your Next Steps?” facilitated by Annette Long (PGK College Support Coach). In her experience as a College Support Coach, Ms. Long has learned that there are parents who need assistance when their son/daughter prepares to attend college following graduation. Session 2 was titled “The Holistic Review of College Preparation” facilitated by Anton Reece. Mr. Reece shared tips from his experience in dealing with students at the University of Tennessee in his role as the Director of the Student Success Center specializing in First-Year Studies 101. Reece told parents that the preparation for college is mental and their student should conduct a basic exploration of different majors to select the best field for them. Other helpful hints included a tip that a student has to develop different strategies for studying for their different classes; for every hour that is spent in class, 2 hours outside of class should be spent studying; memorization is important but knowing what to write down and recall is even more important when it comes to studying for class.
Current students attending the University of Tennessee shared their college experience with the group following lunch. Each of the students offered great insight to the elementary school and middle school students about their experiences in attending UT. The advice they offered echoed tips given earlier in the day to study hard, learn how to study, get involved in organizations, and stay focused. Another parent said “There was a lot of useful information. The student panel was awesome.”
WHAT IS the Early College Awareness Project (ECAP)?
The Project GRAD Parent Board of Trustees and University of Tennessee have partnered together to extend college readiness and create an early college awareness for the student and parent. The purpose is to increase students’ awareness to the opportunities of continuing their education and to provide parents with the information they need to support their child in meeting their goals and dreams.
What are the benefits of an Early College Awareness Activity?
- Increase students’ future opportunities
- Provide parents with the information on how to better prepare their child for rigor studies.
- Provide motivation and direction in a young person’s life.
- Prepare financial plans for college.
Participating schools this year:
Vine Middle, Whittle Springs Middle, Beaumont, Christenberry, Dogwood, Sarah Moore Greene, and South Knox
What did ECAP participants say about this experience:
- The speakers gave very valuable information
- Annette Long- informative data on college search – Great speaker
- Job vs. career comparisons
- Affording college information is valuable
- Encouragement to Succeed/study habits are important/finances and choosing a career/test scores were covered and the importance
- All the presentations were valuable. The college prep info was most useful
- Information from Annette Long
- Most enjoyable – I am very encouraged that I can go to college.
- The parent meeting. Loved the student panel.
Thanks to everyone who made this tour a success.