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The City Journals

South Jordan Middle School students prepare for college

Feb 14, 2017 11:07AM ● By Julie Slama

As part of College Week, South Jordan Middle School students sign paper banners to colleges they would like to attend after high school graduation. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]
Middle school isn’t too early to start learning about and preparing for college, South Jordan Middle School counselors say.
“We want our students to think about college, the different schools in the state, how they select a college, how to prepare for college by taking certain high school classes and have enough credits to graduate and the scholarship opportunities available for colleges and universities,” guidance counselor Melanie Switzer said.
During the school’s college week, counselors prepared lessons for their home rooms to go over college terminology such as work-study, concurrent enrollment and tuition as well as to educate students about tests, such as PSAT, SAT and ACT that they may take for college entrance. The counselors also gave college trivia with the morning announcements.
Switzer said for many first-generation college goers, they learned about why it’s important to attend college and how that may help them land better-paying jobs to support their families.
“We want to familiarize them with what is ahead so they will know how best to prepare,” she said. “We are a college-going culture, and we want them to have college as a goal in mind.”
Guidance counselors also held several lunch activities such as a chance for students to answer college trivia that included locations of Utah colleges and universities, how many credits are needed to graduate from a Jordan School District high school and who attends college more — men or women. Several colleges donated items to award those with correct answers.
Another popular lunchtime activity was for students to sign their names to a piece of paper indicating their college choice. Faculty and staff also signed the posters to show students the schools they attended.
“It’s a chance for our students to ask faculty and staff about college and to get information informally. It helps create dialogue, and we make it fun so the kids love it,” Switzer said.
Seventh-grader Ella Whitehead said she loves the University of Utah and showed her pride for that school by signing its fight song.
“I want to go there or Harvard,” she said, adding that she would like to study to become a veterinarian. “I’ve learned a lot about college facts this week and the application and scholarship process. There’s a lot to being accepted in college beyond getting good grades in the right classes.”
Ninth-grader Zoe Brown wants to follow in her parents’ footsteps and attend Brigham Young University.
“It has an awesome accounting program,” she said. “I’ve learned about the application process and what is needed to go along with that.”
Eighth-graders Savannah Lemmons said she learned about college scholarships and funding. She hopes to attends Texas A&M.
“I’ve learned a lot about getting ready for college through this week,” she said. “It’s been helpful.”
Guidance counselor Kelly Graham said students have learned about opportunities in the state from large universities to small colleges and from four-year institutions to two-year schools. They also learned about open enrollment versus applying to a college.
“We want everyone to have the mindset that there is college ahead and that high school is not the end of their education,” Graham said. “We do several lessons throughout the year, but this week we concentrate on letting them know the basics so they start focusing ahead in their future.”