North Carolina College and Career - 2015 NC Wolfpack Leadership and College Experience – A Howling Success!
The words “college experience” hold new meaning for 16 male and 20 female military teens who spent three days exploring the campus and community of North Carolina State University. The “Wolfpack Leadership and College Experience” featured keynote presentations, classroom visits, cafeteria food – and lots of walking!
Youth, ranging in age from 14 to 18, representing North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia and multiple military components (one Marine, two Air Force, one Air Force Reserve, twenty-two Army National Guard, and ten Air National Guard). Upon arrival, students checked into dorm rooms and met roommates as they settled into their new homes. Youth were assigned to small groups for activities and supervision with adult mentors assigned to each group.
The event featured information on financial aid and scholarships to fund college, how to develop winning essays, how to ace the college entrance interview, and how to manage time so studying as well as social activities can be included. Student ambassadors from several colleges (Design, Engineering, Education, Humanities, Agriculture & Life Sciences) assisted by conducting campus tours, informal conversations, formal presentations, and supporting activities. Leadership workshops were included in an effort to focus primarily on communications, teamwork, collaboration, and self-efficacy.
Youth lived in dormitories, ate meals in the dining hall with a student pass card, and visited multiple classroom buildings during their time on campus. They enjoyed Howling Cow Ice Cream (made on campus) in the courtyard with the Strolling Professor (a campus icon). They enjoyed Krispy Kreme donuts (a North Carolina original and local favorite as evidenced by the annual Krispy Kreme Challenge) while making their mark on the Free Expression Tunnel (campus favorite). In addition, they visited the new Hunt Library to see how a “Book-Bot” retrieves books for students, made a quick trip to Carter Finley Stadium to see where “Football Happens,” and enjoyed a visit to the State Farmer’s Market Restaurant.
Students created videos depicting their weeklong experience and presented their projects as part of the closing program. Several parents arrived early to take part in the closing celebrations and to see the video productions.
Students indicated that their knowledge was “enhanced” or “greatly enhanced” in the following areas:
General College Expectations: 83%
College Scholarships: 81%
College Admissions Process: 92%
College Student Life Opportunities: 86%
College Dorm Experiences: 83%
College Dining Hall Experiences: 77%
College Prep Requirements: 89%
Teen comments included desires to make the event longer to provide more opportunities to add reflection time and a little more social time into the tightly compressed schedule. Their journaling indicated that they felt more prepared for college life and were more aware of the questions they needed to be asking as they complete their high school careers.
During the week following the event, one parent shared the following perspective:
Mostly I wanted to let you both know how much (my child) enjoyed her time at the event. She came home with a new perspective of what it will really take for her to achieve the goals she has for college. Last night after I returned home from getting (my other child) settled at (college) we sat down and went through all of the information she received and she told me what we needed to be doing and the steps she should be taking in order to meet those goals. I can honestly say after having to push the first child through the college process it was great to see (this child) telling me what she needed to be doing and being able to take the steps on her own (with guidance) to pursue her college goals. I truly believe the days spent at the NC State College Experience gave her those tools. Without your hard work this would not have been possible for my child.
We hope to refine the process and offer a full week experience for multiple military groups next summer, with plans to add a parent component at the request of one military component.
For details about the agenda, planning and overall experience, contact Harriett Edwards (Harriett_Edwards@ncsu.edu) or JC Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org)