College Preparatory Programming

In addition to the College Costs Estimator program, which helps families understand college can be affordable, NCCC offers several workshops, presentations, and activities that help address critical postsecondary preparation needs in a time-effective and high-impact way.

In planning for college and beyond, 82% of the students agreed [on an anonymous survey] that The National Center for College Costs' presentations and workshops taught them that there is a strong correlation between a person's education level and the job options available later in life.

Presentations and Workshops Offered

Connecting Classroom and Workplace

  • Based in part on the work of Tom Friedman, global affairs writer for the New York Times and his book, "The World is Flat" this PowerPoint presentation is eye-opening and even inspirational for many students at any high school grade level. The students will see first-hand some of the aspects of the world economy; the world labor force with which they must compete; and some of the technological and other changes that are coming in their lifetimes. Emphasis on traditional and non-traditional education is stressed, as well as individual behavior and goal setting.

"More students are opting for the academic courses, particularly AP courses. We had been experiencing a decline in AP enrollment, but now it is increasing significantly." --Franklin High School, Franklin, IN

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Mock Admissions Committee Case Studies

  • Students are broken down into small admissions committees of 4-6 students. They review live college admissions files, but are only allowed to admit half of the candidates. The students see good and bad course selections, essays, grade trends, and attendance patterns. Basically, they get to see their own high school records and college admission applications 3-4 years ahead of time. The biggest takeaway: high school course selections and grades really matter.

"I believe students are considering other options for college rather than the local public university. They realize there may be more out there. Students are also taking more challenging coursework based on the Mock Admissions Case Studies." -- Cardinal Ritter High School, Indianapolis, IN

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Finding the Right College Fit

  • These activities give students and parents tips on how to go about the college selection process, from setting priorities to some of the key questions to ask any college or university. A step-by-step approach to postsecondary selection is discussed along with the importance of "crossing all the t's and dotting all the i's." Suggestions on free online assessment tools are also offered.

More than 80% of the students agreed [on an anonymous survey] that the NCCC workshops helped them see "that people like me go to college."

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Executing an Effective Essay

  • The program begins with a session on writing a persuasive essay. In other words, how do you effectively express "who you are" on a piece of paper? Actual college admissions and scholarship essays are shared as examples. In addition to this session, an essay topic can be assigned, perhaps based on a local scholarship or college (e.g., Common Application) essay question so that it has immediate value. In a subsequent session, a critique by the NCCC staff of the first draft of the essay can be provided to each student in the class.

"The English department loves the essay writing for the seniors. It's constructive feedback from someone else other than the teacher. This has definitely made life easier for our guidance office the last 3 years." -- Cardinal Ritter High School, Indianapolis, IN

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College Visit Bus Trips

  • With input from the schools and colleges, our staff plans one-day bus trips to selected institutions with the aim of exposing high school students to different postsecondary options, often giving them their first glimpse of college life. Typically the bus trips go to 1) a two-year college and a four-year college OR 2) a four-year public university and four-year private. At some schools students sign up and one bus goes to option 1) and the second goes to 2). These trips are helpful for any student in sorting out his or her college selection criteria/priorities, but it often is especially eye-opening for low-income, potentially first-generation college students-- some of whom see themselves as college students for the very first time.    

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Interview Preparation/Mock Interviews

  • Good and bad interviews are demonstrated by NCCC staff, and then students are engaged in thinking through the issues they need to consider in approaching an interview situation. After discussion and exercises, a handout that summarizes key interview preparation tips is given out to participants.

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FAFSA Filing Days

  • NCCC staff members take the lead with local volunteers to help students and parents file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This is most helpful to families that are intimidated by the process, but perhaps most important, NCCC staff can immediately interpret the results. Families know instantly which colleges are apt to work best financially...and which ones will not work! Click here to see the FAFSA Filing Day results from 2014.

 "After I completed the FAFSA for each of my three seniors, I completed one for myself. If I don't invest in my kids, who will? This in an investment in their future. They talk about human capital. I feel like I've increased the capital in my little part of the world." --Parent of Grant County students

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College Survival 101

  • Tips and materials are given to help students and parents understand course syllabi, manage time (by week and semester), and find key resources on most any campus. The session also provides overall tips for success in college, including managing college finances, loan default prevention, etc. These activities are especially critical to the success of first-generation college students and their families.

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