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'Week At College' gives high school students
a more personalized look at CCRI
April 16, 2015
Campus tours and information sessions are offered on a regular basis for new and prospective Community College of Rhode Island students, but these efforts were expanded this spring with an all-new Week At College program, bringing area high school students to each of the four campuses for small, specialized guidance sessions.
The program is a collaborative effort between faculty and various departments in Student Services coming together to provide an informative and engaging program for high school seniors.
"It's ultimately all about making sure that students have the knowledge of what's available to them once they come to CCRI," said Deborah Watson, associate director of the Office of Enrollment Services. "It's just another way to get the message across to them that the college has multiple services and programs beneficial to their success."
Watson said that the program was in part inspired by a tour held for students from Central Falls at the Flanagan Campus in Lincoln last year, where some of the faculty members of Respiratory Therapy program talked about their career field and demonstrated techniques with specialized medical equipment.
"We thought that was a great idea, and wanted to expand the basis of the program to all the campuses," she said. "And thumbing through the feedback and comments we've received from students and from the college advisers, we know they found it to be helpful."
More than 80 students from groups representing College Crusade of Rhode Island, Central Falls High School, Rogers High School and The Met School attended the programs, which had representatives from Advising and Counseling, Financial Aid, Enrollment Services, the Access Program, and other departments available to speak and answer specific questions.
Watson said that each session offered its own programming tailored to the group. Mike Hynes, senior admissions officer, was on hand to facilitate a discussion with a group of eight students from The Met School. Because the groups during Week At College were of fairly intimate size, Hynes explained that the sessions could be further tailored to the specific needs of the students on hand.
That was clear with one group that began the morning with a presentation by Camille Numrich, coordinator for Career Services. Numrich walked the students through the Career Key online assessment, a tool available through the Career Services office that helps students explore possible careers and majors. Students created their own logins and answered the survey, gleaning more information about what field might be best suited to their interests, personality and skill strengths.
When the group was done, a show of hands indicated strong interest in social work and health care fields, so the discussion was steered along those lines. Numrich was able to show the students the matching majors available at CCRI to train for their potential fields, as well as point them toward outside resources to learn more about various career paths and their employment outlook.
"We know from the research that when students know in advance what areas they might possibly be interested in, especially when we indicate and show the majors that can be matched with those careers, that students are more likely to succeed. It gets students thinking about careers early," she said.
In addition to Numrich's presentation – which the students would be able to revisit at home by taking their personalized login and researching their results further – brief presentations were given by CCRI/Met adviser Patricia Bamford, who accompanied the students to the college for the day, as well as Hynes, who gave the students an idea of what the admissions process would look like, as well as possibilities for transfer after completing a two-year degree. "We're here for you. CCRI is a stepping stone that can get you basically to any program you want," Hynes said.
Barry O'Connor, senior financial aid officer, followed with a presentation focusing on scholarships and financial aid, arming students with websites and apps to investigate to help pay for school. Counselor Jason Moniz briefly told students about the advising and counseling services available at the college, stressing that advisers are available to discuss life and health questions just as much as academic ones.
Finally, Cynthia Spruill from the Access Program gave an animated presentation before sending off the students on their tour of the Liston Campus, telling her own story about her journey going from skipping school to watch "Scooby Doo" to hitting the books and nabbing scholarships and a master's degree.
"I love to help people get an education," she told the students. "It can turn your life around for the better. I'm a big supporter of students. But I expect you to work hard. And as you can see, there are a lot of enthusiastic people here to help you succeed."
Out of all of the students in attendance that day, only one had yet to start the application process to CCRI. In fact, one Met senior, Talin Dirocco of Narragansett, was already enrolled in the college and taking a class in network administration. "This was really great," he said after the presentations were over. "All of this information is definitely useful – especially the financial aid and scholarship stuff. I'm really interested and can't wait to get started on my program here."
Bamford echoed Dirocco's sentiments, adding after the presentations, "our students left this event with more awareness of and pride in not only their decision to attend CCRI, but also their career pathways."
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