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College Connection. Lee College District October 15, 2007. Presenter. Luanne Preston, Ph.D. Executive Director, Early College Start and College Connection 512-223-7354. Agenda. Closing the Gaps Overview College Connection Overview College Connection How It Works

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College Connection

Lee College District

October 15, 2007

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Luanne Preston, Ph.D.Executive Director, Early College Start and College Connectionluanne@austincc.edu512-223-7354

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  • Closing the Gaps Overview

  • College Connection Overview

  • College Connection How It Works

  • Program Results

  • Program Recognition

  • State and National Interest in Expansion

  • College Connection How To Start

  • College Connection Guiding Principles

  • Common Challenges

  • Questions and Answers

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Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Strategic Plan“Closing the Gaps”Overview

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Closing the Gaps in Participation

  • Closing the Gaps warns that if more Texans do not receive college degrees by 2030, the State could lose up to $40 billion in annual household income.

  • The goal is to increase student enrollment in higher education by 630,000 by 2015.

  • Most students will elect to start at a community college.

  • Lee College District expects over 22,481 more students by 2015.


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College ConnectionOverview

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Education Beyond High School

Increases earning potential and employment opportunities

U.S. Department of Education

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Learn to Earn

Source: Postsecondary Education OPPORTUNITY

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Excuses For Not ContinuingYour Education

No one in my family has ever gone to college.

I’ve been in school for 12 years. That’s enough! I just want a good job.

I can’t afford it.

I don’t know what I want to do with my life.

I won’t fit in.

College is too hard.

I don’t know how to apply or where I want to go.

Source: Adapted from The College Board’s “Seven Excuses Not to Go to College and Why They’re Lame”

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Improving High School to College Transitions

  • Provide admission and pre-enrollment services to seniors on their school campuses

  • Create an expectation that “College is in everyone’s future.”

  • Increase percentage of high school seniors who enter college after high school graduation.

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Lee College District Service Area

College Transition Rates

Texas High School Graduates from FY 2006Enrolled in Texas Higher Education Fall 2006

*Includes students who were not enrolled in Texas colleges or universities in the year immediately following graduation, as well as students who were enrolled out-of-state.

**Districts with less than 25 graduates are not included in this report.


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College ConnectionHow It Works

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College Connection Program

  • Many high school students find the college enrollment process intimidating.

  • Lee College provides hands-on, one-on-onesupportto assist every student through each step of the college admissions process.

  • During graduation ceremonies, high school graduating seniors receive acceptance letters to Lee College.

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Students Receive Services at the High School:

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College Connection Activity Grid Sample

ISD District Lead:Sandra Dowdy, Assistant Superintendent, 512-386-3040,

Del Valle HS Lead:Jean MacInnis, Principal, 512-386-3210,

Admin. Assistant: Nadene Norwood, 512-386-3211,

ACC District Lead:Mary Hensley, 223-7618,

Exec. Assistant: Esther Buzard, 223-7618,

College Connection Lead:Luanne Preston, 223-7354,

Admin. Assistant: Laurie Clark, 223-7354, Senior Count:400

SHADE/BOLD – Required College Connection Activities

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Lifetime Acceptance “at ACC”

  • Application never discarded

  • Provide a permanent college home

  • Students come to ACC:

    • Full-time

    • Part-time

    • In Summer for transfer

    • After military service

    • After career changes

    • Co-enroll while attending 4-year institution

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Lifetime Acceptance “at ACC”

  • Cohorts can be tracked by semester of entry

  • Longitudinal data collected for

    • Retention

    • Completion

    • Success

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Program Results

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College Connection School Districts

2006-07Year 4




Del Valle






Johnson City

Lago Vista


Liberty Hill






Prairie Lea

Round Rock

San Marcos


2007-08Year 5




Del Valle

Dripping Springs








Johnson City

Lago Vista

2003-04 Year 1

San Marcos

2004-05Year 2



Del Valle


San Marcos

2005-06Year 3



Del Valle





San Marcos

Lake Travis


Liberty Hill






Prairie Lea

Round Rock

San Marcos



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School Districts Participating in the College Connection Program 2007-2008

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School Districts Participating in the College Connection Program 2007-2008

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College Connection Program Growth

Over 4 years:

  • 1 school district to 27 school districts

  • 2 high schools to 58 high schools

  • 400 students to 17,000+ students

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The College Connection Program Works!

Blue=Year College Connection startedRed=Year Seniors attend ACC after College Connection




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College ConnectionDiversity of Participants 2006-07

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Traditionally Underrepresented in Higher Education - Students Enroll at ACC

  • More than 55% of College Connectionenrollees are minorities

  • Higher percentage entering ACC through College Connection than in the general ACC student population

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College Connection Results for ACC, 2004-2007

  • Positive effect on Fall enrollments

    • Immediate great results: 37.6% increase first year

    • 59% increase over two years

  • Positive effect on Early College Start enrollments

    • 25.6% increase in enrollment from ‘04 to ’05

    • 45% increase in enrollment from ’04 to ’06

    • 3,209 students enrolled Summer 2007 (record-breaking ECS enrollment)

  • Positive effect on Tech Prep enrollments

    • 4,336% increase in number of students receiving Tech Prep credit

      • 36 students in 2003-04

      • 48 students in 2004-05

      • 293 students in 2005-06

      • 1,597 students in 2006-07

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Program Recognition

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College Connection Program National Acclaim & Recognition

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Awards Received

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State and National Interest in Expansion

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National Interest:

Florida Department of Education

  • Launched state-wide campaign in April 2007 called “Go Higher-Get Accepted” modeled after College Connection

    Maine Interest in College Connection

  • Proposed law requiring graduating high school seniors to complete at least one college application before getting diploma.

  • Support from “Compact for Higher Education”

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“Attaining advanced levels of education for disadvantaged students cannot be done without developing a college-going culture in every middle school and high school in the state of Texas...then suddenly, (going to college) changes from being a possibility to an expectation.”

--Raymund Paredes

Commissioner, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

January 6, 2005

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THECB Statewide College Connection Expansion2007-2009

  • Ten Schools Receive Implementation Grants

    • Alamo Community College District

    • Blinn College

    • Del Mar College

    • Houston Community College System

    • Lee College

    • Odessa College

    • Richland College

    • South Texas College

    • Tarrant County College District

    • Weatherford College

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THECB Statewide College Connection Expansion2007-2009

  • Five Schools Receive Planning Grants

    • Cedar Valley College

    • Cisco Junior College

    • Northeast Texas Community College

    • Paris Junior College

    • Victoria College

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THECB Statewide College Connection Expansion

  • Colleges Already Adopting College Connection

  • Alamo Community College District

  • Central Texas College

  • Coastal Bend Community College

  • Del Mar Community College

  • Houston Community College District

  • Temple Community College

  • Vernon College

  • Victoria Community College

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External Support for ACC

  • Funding to expand College Connection

  • Funding for Mobile Go Center

  • Funding for statewide College Connection Regional Forums

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Mobile Go Center

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Related Initiatives

Mini-College Connectionfor Adult Education

College Connection Scholarships

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College Connection:Guiding Principles

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Guiding Principles: College Connection

  • Deliver services on high school campus

    • “If they’re really interested, they should come to us”

    • “Getting them to the college campus really gets them excited; they need to see the college campus”

    • Traditional recruitment has not produced desired results

  • What if the school wants to bring students to the college campus for activities other than campus tours?

    • Ascertain the school’s purpose – this approach can be useful in some circumstances, but it is generally more efficient to serve students at the high school

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Guiding Principles: College Connection

  • Deliver services during the school day

  • Design activities within one bell period

    • Exception is assessment testing

    • Be respectful of instructional time

  • Work with every category of high school student

    • Gifted and talented

    • Advanced Placement/Honors

    • Bilingual/ESL

    • Section 504

    • Special Education

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Guiding Principles: College Connection

  • Students do not need to repeat steps

    • Dual-credit students do not have to re-apply

    • Exempt students do not have to re-test

  • Track participation data

  • Provide electronic communications

  • Customize service delivery to meet high school needs, honor school preferences

  • Look for ways to incorporate suggestions of school personnel

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College Connection:How To Start

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Formal Agreement

  • Between college and school district

  • Signed by chancellor and/or president and superintendent

  • Establishes transfer of student data from high school to college

  • Details responsibilities and expectations

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Advance Briefing

  • District/Central Office Staff

  • High School Principal

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Planning Meeting

  • One meeting held annually in the Summer

  • Schedule one hour (slightly longer for new schools or multiple schools)

  • Complete activity grid

  • Focus on scheduling

  • Leave activity details for * contacts

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Communications between School District and College

  • Electronic via list serv

  • Updated activity grid sent via e-mail when changes occur

  • College Connection website links

  • iCal

    • Combined calendar for internal use

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Data Collection

  • Collect electronically (Excel spreadsheet)

  • Collect from high school

    • Name

    • Address

    • DOB

    • HS Student ID (for later record matching)

    • Test Scores (HS Exit Exam, SAT, ACT)

  • Mark records as College Connection cohort in student database

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Data Follow-Up

  • Track by school, how many students complete each activity

  • May need multiple visits to get 100% participation

  • Give high school principal participation rates for use at graduation announcement ceremony

  • Report Fall enrollment from pilot schools (compare to benchmark), Spring persistence

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Austin Community CollegeCollege Connection Website

  • Access to scheduled activities for students, parents, and school officials

  • Calendars

  • Links to pertinent ACC school district sites

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  • Participating schools

  • Links to school pages

  • Link to college pages of interest

  • Press coverage/special events

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College Connection Logo

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Personnel:Guiding Principles

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Guiding Principles: Personnel

  • Team structure has worked for ACC

  • Sharing personnel across departments

  • Cross-train and re-deploy

    • Recruiter/advisers

  • Use trained college volunteers outside their regular duties

    • Tutors proctor tests

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Guiding Principles: Personnel

  • Have personnel assigned to specific schools

    • Builds relationships and trust

    • Early warning about problems

  • One “expert” available on-site

    • Example: One admissions coordinator to address complex matters; other team members may be generalists

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Guiding Principles: Personnel

  • Have college personnel responsible for results

    • Level of participation in each activity

      • How many completed the activity?

      • Do the preliminary results approach the projected numbers?

        • Did most students apply?

        • Did about 50% test?

    • Interim results

      • Have checkpoints

      • Contact responsible school or district personnel in time to provide make-up dates before end of year, if numbers are low

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Sequencing Activities:Guiding Principles

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Guiding Principles: Sequencing Activities

  • Required Activities

    • What does a student have to complete, at a minimum, to enroll at your institution?

      • Application

        • How much time is needed for an application to be available in the student information system?

      • TSI compliance (Assessment)

        • What tests do you offer students?

        • How much time is needed for scoring?

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Guiding Principles: Sequencing Activities

  • Required Activities

    • What does a student have to complete, at a minimum, to enroll at your institution?

      • Orientation

        • Is orientation mandatory?

        • Do you enforce its completion before students can register?

        • Before they can be advised?

      • Advising

        • Is advising required prior to registration?

        • What action allows a student to register?

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Guiding Principles: Sequencing Activities

  • Recommended Activities

    • FAFSA Completion

    • Senior Presentation

  • Optional Activities

    • Career Information

    • Campus Tours

    • College Days

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Guiding Principles: Sequencing Activities

  • When to schedule activities?

    • Senior Presentation

      • Prior to first activity, as soon as possible after school starts

      • Usually admissions follows

    • Admissions Application

      • End of September, October, or November through Thanksgiving

      • After receipt of data roster

      • In time, where possible, for seniors to prepare for Spring dual- credit registration

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Guiding Principles: Sequencing Activities

  • When to schedule activities?

    • Assessment

      • End of January through early March

      • After receipt of test score roster – timed to allow maximum number of SAT/ACT test scores to be included

      • Allows students to receive the most instructional content prior to testing

    • Financial Aid

      • Mid-January through Mid-March

      • Presentations timed to coincide with W-2 arrival, tax preparation, and meet college priority filing deadlines

      • Night presentations and workshops for parents and students

      • Financial Aid Saturdays

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Guiding Principles: Sequencing Activities

  • When to schedule activities?

    • New Student Orientation

      • ACC calls this step “pre-advising”

      • Completed online as ACC 101

        • Live program replaced by online module per school request

        • School manages where and when students complete

      • Student prints checklist as proof of completion

      • Many schools schedule during advisory

      • Schedule window of time prior to academic advising

        • Recommend 1-3 weeks prior to advising session

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Guiding Principles: Sequencing Activities

  • When to schedule activities?

    • Academic Advising

      • Mid-February through Mid-April

      • Allow time, if needed, for test scores to be entered or processed and available to advisors

      • ACC requires three weeks is using ASSET

    • Complete all College Connection activities by Mid-April

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Guiding Principles: Sequencing Activities

  • Senior Presentation DVD

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See, it didn’t hurt!

Student Recruitment Office


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Guiding Principles: Scheduling

  • The planning meeting for each school should occur before Fall semester, or as soon after school starts

  • All events should be completed by Mid-April with rare exceptions

    • The month of May through end of school is extremely busy on high school campuses

  • A student should be able to complete an individual activity (exception assessment testing) with one bell period

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Guiding Principles: Scheduling

  • Provide capacity to staff activities at more than one school on the same day

  • Decide what dates are ineligible for college personnel

    • First day of registration

    • Two weeks leading up to start of semester

    • First week of classes

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Guiding Principles: Scheduling

  • Plan on the following high school availability constraints:

    • End of six-week grading period/testing

    • TAKS testing dates

    • A/B Block scheduling (must provide activities on both A and B days)

    • Sports conflicts

      • Example: Tuesdays and Fridays are varsity basketball game days

    • Mondays and Fridays are the worst attendance days

    • Beginning/end of semester

    • Spring Break date differential (HB1)

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Guiding Principles: Scheduling Efficiency

  • Schools are deeply concerned about loss of instructional time

  • All College Connection required activities can be completed in the equivalent of one school day

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Guiding Principles: Scheduling Efficiency

  • Size of school may allow for combined activities

    • Example: Senior Presentation followed by Application

      • Advantages – Immediacy

      • A/B Block bell periods are 90 minutes long

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Guiding Principles: Scheduling Efficiency

  • Length of bell period may allow for combined activities

    • Example: Application, FAFSA Pin Number, online pre-advising

      • Advantages

        • Uses entire bell period

        • Already disrupted for application

        • Eliminates need for a second pullout

      • Disadvantages

        • Students usually complete pre-advising well before advising

        • Increases chance they will not retain important information

        • High school staff must retain printed checklist for students to avoid loss

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ACC 101 Demonstration


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Scheduling Efficiency – How Much Time?

  • Senior Presentation – 20 minutes

  • Admissions Application – 25 minutes

    • Residency Form

    • Missing Credentials

  • Assessment – 5 hours

    • Partial testing takes less time

      • Math only – 1 hour

      • Reading/writing – 2.25 hours

  • Pre-Advising – 25 minutes

  • Advising – 15 minutes average

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High School

  • District lead person

  • Implementation lead person

  • Team leader for services

    • Admissions representative

    • Financial Aid representative

    • Assessment representative

    • Recruitment representative

    • Advising representative

    • Recorder

  • Principal

  • Grade level principal or AP

  • Lead or senior counselor

  • Person in charge of testing/scheduling

  • Tech person (use of computer labs)

  • Other staff who works with the “senior class”

Planning MeetingRecommended Participants

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High School

  • College Calendar

  • Admissions Team Calendar

  • Financial Aid Team Calendar

  • Assessment Team Calendar

  • Student Recruitment Team Calendar

  • Advising Team Calendar

  • Bell schedule

  • School calendar

  • A/B Block scheduling

  • Testing calendar

Planning MeetingRecommended Things to Bring

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College ConnectionPlanning Meeting Demonstration

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Best Practices—Before You Start

  • Know/connect with Superintendent(s) in School District(s)

  • Form a College/ISD planning team

  • Form a College/High School planning team

  • Initially use a core team of early adopters

  • Build support for program within Lee College

  • Understand K-12 operations

  • Understand what is/is not required

  • Time/effort now will reduce work later

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Best Practices—Before You Start

  • Initially use key leaders on teams then expand to lower-level personnel

  • Make it a “win-win” program for both sides

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Best Practices—Getting Started

  • Small and successful=Others will come

  • Get internal support from:

    • Information Technology

    • Public Relations

    • Dual Credit

    • Tech Prep

    • Foundation

    • Student Recruitment

    • Student Services

  • Do away with thinking that students “have to come to the college campus” to meet college processes

  • Focus on what works for the school district

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Best Practices—After You’ve Started

  • Use publicity and press conferences at every opportunity

  • Get Foundation involved in raising scholarships

  • Make a presentation to each school district Board

  • Use current staff to serve on teams

  • Expand personnel requests through budget process/master plan process

  • Keep College Board of Trustees involved

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Best Practices—After You’ve Started

  • Continually thank and recognize participants

  • Involve staff in recognitions

  • Keep College Connection process simple

  • Name a single point-of-contact for problem solving

  • Utilize technology for communication including web, listserv, and online calendars (I-Cal)

  • Build a superintendents’ e-mail list

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Best Practices—After You’ve Started

  • Increased enrollments will build programs and support staff

  • Many good “off shoots” develop:

    • Chamber of Commerce events/support

    • Grants and Contracts

    • Annexation

    • Scholarships

    • Continuing education

    • Training

    • Teacher certification

    • Instructional Aide Training

    • Dual Credit

    • Tech Prep

    • Other

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Best Practices—After You’ve Started

  • Have joint College and School District Board meetings

  • Form College/ISD Executive Team

  • Provide immediate response/service

  • Pace for success

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Common Challenges

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Challenge #1 – Faculty Resistance

  • Why does this occur?

    • Faculty not well-informed about the program

    • Some have traditional bias against community colleges

      • Concerns about quality of programs/instruction and transferability of classes

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Strategy – Counter Faculty Resistance

  • Feature a College Connection presentation at general faculty meeting

  • Provide general information about TCCD programs, costs, state-wide transfer of classes between public institutions

  • Provide dates of pullouts well in advance, to allow for faculty planning

  • Emphasize benefits to students

    • Students will be “ready-to-register” at TCCD at the end of the year

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Challenge #2 – Student Resistance

  • Why does this occur?

    • Students not exposed to the program in advance

    • Some are convinced they are going to college elsewhere or convinced they won’t need to go at all

    • A “cool” student has refused to participate

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Strategy – Lessen Student Resistance

  • Schedule a College Connection senior presentation before activities begin

  • Encourage participation and explain program benefits to any student refusing to participate

  • Recruit school opinion leaders and role models to influence their peers

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Challenge #3 – Alleviate Parent Concerns

  • Why does this occur?

    • Parents don’t want to give sensitive family income information to students, school or college staff

    • No computer access at home

    • Parents’ work schedule prevents easy completion

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Strategy – Counter Parent Resistance on FAFSA

  • Time school FAFSA activities to coincide with arrival of W-2 and filing of taxes

  • Provide evening FAFSA workshops – invite TCCD to participate or lead

  • Coordinate with volunteer programs that assist families with preparing/filing taxes

  • Provide information about necessary documents/information in advance to parents

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Questions and Answers

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For copies:

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