With the closure of Minnesota schools due to COVID-19, our Career & College Center (CCC) staff in 15 Minneapolis and Saint Paul public high schools are hard at work with our district and school partners to provide remote support for students in their college and career planning pathways.
At South High School, our CCC team Kelsey Massey and Katie Hanson are collaborating with South counselors and GEAR-UP staff to make sure that every senior has the support they need to stay on track for college or other education or training programs next fall.
“This is such an incredibly tough time for students who have been thrown out of their normal routines so quickly,” says Kelsey. “It’s especially hard for seniors who are now missing out on all the things they were looking forward to during their senior year. They’re also experiencing so much anxiety and uncertainty about the future and what will be happening in their lives in the coming months.”
This week South’s career and college readiness teams met to strategize and prioritize the most strategic and effective ways to guide seniors at this critical time in the school year, including FAFSA support, scholarship advising, tracking academic credits and support with distance learning.
Kelsey and Katie and a GEAR UP colleague are focusing on FAFSA completion, reaching out to South seniors who have indicated that they want to attend two or four-year college or other education programs that require the FAFSA. They’re scheduling virtual support sessions with individual students via Google Hangout to provide individualized advice and guidance in completing the FAFSA.
“FAFSA is our primary focus right now because students are much more likely to follow through with college applications if they’ve completed the FAFSA,” says Kelsey. “Our goal is to make sure that all seniors who plan to attend college this fall are aware that they need to do this and that we’re available to help them along the way.”
Other GEAR Up staff are connecting with seniors who have completed the FAFSA to help them focus on scholarship applications. And South counselors are helping them track their academic credits and making sure they have the resources they need to be successful in distance learning.
“The best thing we can do for students right now is to let them know that they’re not alone,” says Kelsey. “We’re here for them and ready to help in any way that we can.”