Too often, “old methods” of introducing high school students to college life still involve paid college-recruiting agents who visit their high school. These “college reps” introduce themselves, distribute printed information, discuss entrance requirements and invite applications. For those with the time and resources, a “college visit” may be included.
Both systems are usually very structured and rarely involve actually talking with college-age students. How often do high school students get the opportunity to talk with college students about being successful, both in high school and at the college level? The high school senior almost never speaks with more interesting and authentic people like first-year students, students in their area of interest, college and university professors, or students nearing graduation.
How Technology Can Change Antiquated Recruitment
21st century technologies have brought innovative communication directly into the high school and college classroom. It is the rare public school or college classroom that is not connected to the internet and does not have large screen projection capacity. These ubiquitous technologies now offer students a “window” to college students, life, expectations and recommendations for success.
High school classroom connectivity-integration tools like Skype and FaceTime may stimulate interest among students who may have never considered college. Given that the four-year college may not be for everyone, connectivity could be established between high schools and community colleges and vocational schools.
College Mentoring 2.0: The Purpose
College Mentoring 2.0 supports an authentic, real-time connective culture that supports communication between age groups and locations. High school students who have questions about a place or program can interact in real-time with near-age students within vocational, technical, community or four-year environment. Therefore, more experienced students can describe the realities of these more advanced learning experiences.
Creative applications of ubiquitous interactive technologies can provide participants with “believable and motivating” insight on prospective learning environments.
I designed and implemented just such an interactive, real time opportunity for high school seniors. My initiative accomplished three things: 1) high school students were able to ask college students questions about college life and studies; 2) college students and professors were able to offer suggestions to maximize college success; and finally 3) all of this was done in a highly engaging, no cost, no travel, no risk, innovative experience that applied proven and emerging technologies.