Mission of Early Outreach
Introduce middle school and high school students to college and career options, helping them
the confidence and preparation necessary to include college as part of their personal
visions for the future.
It is happening! The paradigm shift--engaging students and their families in career and college planning at the beginning of middle school or earlier—is now a reality. College campuses have long been well attuned and skilled in assisting older teenagers and adults with college preparation. Colleges now recognize the importance of reaching out to students and their families well before they reach high school. It is time to build stronger partnerships in providing early outreach.
Doug Rogers, Principal of Sierra Vista in Sunnyside, Washington, reminds us why we need to focus on early outreach:
"...It provides that connection, that continuum for the kids. It’s important for them
to know that middle school is not just a little pothole in the road. Middle school is a
part of their life roadmap. Taking them on college campuses lets them know what
it’s like between 18 and 25. That is important."
Vice Principal Julie Perez at Harrison Middle School in Sunnyside, Washington, continues:
"...It it is hard to see what options are out there. Therefore, it's harder for them [the students]
to picture what's out there and see themselves there. Seeing it [college] helps motivate the
students to work for it. They've got to see college students that look like them. It's hard to
picture if if you haven't had the opportunity to see it. You've got to give them something
to reach for."
Martin Valadez, Vice President for Diversity and Outreach, at Columbia Basin College reiterates,
“You can’t choose a path if you don’t know it exists.”
Providing students the opportunity to gain confidence in continuing their education and training after high school graduation requires attention and time. Therefore, the earlier individuals are provided the opportunity to become acquainted with college campus life and the college system, the more successful we all will be in increasing access to post high school education and/or training opportunities.
College outreach must contribute to a 100% high school graduation rate, successful admittance into a post high school education system, completing that post high school education, and contributing to our nation’s and the world’s sustainability.