A high school and higher education partnership is essential for a successful early college high school. Here are 6 tips for getting starting on forming that relationship:
First and foremost, you need to believe, really believe, that first generation students – high school students – can be successful in the types of learning experiences your institution offers, given the right conditions and support.
Think local. When it comes to growing your own student body, look no further than your own backyard. How much do you invest traveling the nation or the globe seeking new students only to have them graduate and return home? Would your organization and your community actually see a greater benefit if you began to attract and retain local students? What can you do to expand your base of students by opening the doors to those young people in the neighborhood surrounding your campus whose families may not have higher
education in their past experience?
Reach out to your local school districts. Don’t wait for them to come to you. Engage them in deep, rich conversations that will uncover common goals, challenges, resources and strategies. Don’t just partner on traditional or legislated programs. Brainstorm solutions that benefit the young people at both of your organizations.
Take stock of your resources – all of your resources across all of the schools and departments within your institution. What is one part of your institution doing to support its struggling students? Could those resources / strategies be used to support early college students? What grants or special programs already exist in different parts of your campus? Chances are you’ll find a wealth of existing, no-added-cost strategies to ensure early college students are successful in and complete college at your institution.
Commit to creating a personalized experience for every student from the moment they step onto your campus. The most successful early colleges realize each student begins the journey from a different location and will travel a unique path to degree completion.
Engage champions in every corner of your higher education community. It takes faculty, support services, college students and more to operate a successful early college. Make planned and purposeful connections between high school, higher education, business and community leaders. The work is not easy, but the rewards are real.