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Career & College Coaching

The transition from high school to college is one of the most important events in determining a student’s post-secondary education success. Traditionally, much focus is placed on the typical college preparatory checklist, including course and college choice, career interests, and application procedures and timeline. While adolescence should be a period of challenging, but positive, transformation, far less effort is placed on preparing students for the mental and emotional obstacles common to the first-year college experience. As a result, students today are experiencing an increased frequency of mental and emotional distress (Twenge et al., 2017).

Approximately 60 percent of recently admitted college students disclosed that they were emotionally unprepared for college, and 50 percent report experiencing stress during their first year (Bray, 2015).

While it might be tempting to blame the stresses of the first-year college experience for the harm to a student’s emotional wellbeing, almost 40 percent of parents report that their student experienced significant stress prior to college, linking emotional challenges to activities associated with the K-12 school curriculum (Harvard School of Public Health, 2013).

Additionally, a query of recent Ottawa Hills High School graduates revealed that while most students felt academically prepared for college, the majority felt at least somewhat underprepared emotionally, and experienced some level of emotional or mental distress during their first year. 

Overall, students who are afforded social and emotional education and training experience increased well-being as compared to their peers (Taylor et al., 2017). Therefore, in an effort to aid our students, as they balance the necessary, expected stresses of the learning process with the additional challenges of preparing for college, The Foundry’s College/Career Preparation Program will focus on facilitating an effective transition of students from high school to their post-secondary activities. Foundry programming is designed to complement the existing resources and programs already established as part of the Ottawa Hills High School college preparation program, which have proven to effectively identify appropriate academic pathways for our students.

Specifically, The Foundry will help students feel supported throughout the college application and career exploration/readiness process and provide valuable tools, resources, and workshops that prepare them for the curricular and emotional challenges that define the first-year college experience. 

The Foundry helps to:

  • Increase awareness about professional possibilities for students as they search for the right college and career fit.
  • Help students understand how different college options can best fit them academically and emotionally.
  • Allow students to realize the diversity of college majors and their applicability to not only the student’s professional future, but also to their personal growth.
  • Reduce both student and parent anxieties surrounding the college application and transition process.
  • Prepare students for the range of emotions associated with the college application process and the ultimate acceptance/rejection of the application.
  • Assist students in building meaningful networking connections with alumni, community members, and professionals.
  • Provide expertise to assist students, as they draft resumes and personal narratives/essays, and prepare for formal interviews.

The Foundry offers student supports in the form of informational panels and workshops including discussions focusing on

  • College selection, including application advising from admissions professionals
  • The "first-year college experience" through discussions with recent graduates
  • Developing a professional network through "meet the professional" sessions
  • Practical career preparation through resume, cover letter, and interview guidance workshops.