College week gears students for future studyApr 26, 2021 11:07AM ● By Julie Slama
South Jordan Middle School student Emma Warne holds up candy she received after correctly answering a college trivia question. (Photo courtesy of Melanie Switzer.)
By Julie Slama | [email protected]
It’s a week of dressing up in college gear and decorating classroom doors of favorite universities, but it’s more than that, said a South Jordan Middle School counselor.
“College may be in a few years yet, but we want students to start thinking about it and what they may want to do in their future,” counselor Angie Burden said. “They may want to start researching what is required for that now.”
College preparation begins when students enter the school in seventh grade. They meet individually with counselors, and as they get to know one another, counselors write down students’ responses.
“We ask, ‘What college do you want to go to?’ and, ‘What do you see you want to do in your future?’” she said. “Then, we focus more on college and careers in eighth and ninth grades.”
Burden said that in those college and career ready meetings, they help students understand what colleges look for in student applications.
“They look at GPAs; how well students do in ACT and SAT exams; service they give; if they’ve taken AP (advanced placement), concurrent or honors courses; their work history; and their involvement in extracurricular activities,” Burden said. “Colleges want to see well-rounded students, those who are involved and giving service—not just those who are staying home to study.”
During South Jordan Middle School’s college week from March 8 to March 11, students could compete in several lunchtime activities and games, including one about college trivia. They also were able to sign paper banners indicating which colleges they are considering attending.
“The kids see it like a signing day, so it’s kind of fun but meaningful,” she said. “Some see it sort of as a commitment since its written down.”
Throughout the week, students could accumulate points for their fifth-period class; winners were then celebrated.
However, all 1,300 students, including those who are online, had the opportunity to watch a video created by student body officer adviser Julia Ence, who interviewed several different professionals about careers. Students in person also could dress up as to what their future self may look like reporting to work.
While Burden recognizes that schools may not be offering their usual extracurricular opportunities during the pandemic, she said there are still ways to get involved and serve.
“Several church groups are still doing service and in some high schools; PLT (peer leadership teams) are classes, so they’re available for students to get involved and provide service,” she said.” Here we have ambassadors and SBO officers so students can get some leadership experience.” She added that South Jordan Middle School currently is planning to hold student body officer elections in April.
“We want to get students thinking about their future because what may seem far off is just around the corner,” she said.