By MIKE EDDLEMAN
College and career choices are always just around the corner for students today.
To help students and parents learn all the options, prepare for them, and make the right choices, Liberty Hill ISD is participating in Generation TX the week of Jan. 22.
“Basically all the elementary schools, the intermediate and the junior high will celebrate what’s called Generation TX Week,” said Liberty Hill Junior High Counselor Courtney McVan. “It is a week dedicated to thinking about their future and getting them to think about possible colleges and careers.”
Generation TX is a program put together by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, designed to introduce and simplify steps students need to take on the path to college or career education as they plan for their future. It addresses everything from class and test choices to college applications and financial aid options, all designed to get families discussing the future early.
“(Students) need to know their actions now can lead to things in the future,” McVan said of the early preparation. “Their work habits even in elementary school can impact their work habits in high school and their college chances.”
Each school is addressing a different focus in the preparation process, with discussions and activities geared toward the particular age group to build toward the next level.
“The elementary level is going to concentrate more on the colleges,” McVan said. “They will interview a family member that has been to college and find out about their college experience. They will decorate college pennants – the teachers and the students.”
At the intermediate and junior high schools, the discussion and activities will be geared more toward career paths.
“Here we’re going to focus more on the careers,” McVan said. “We’ll make an announcement every day about the high school’s four different paths. As early as eighth grade they choose the path they are going to take and so every day I will talk about one of those paths and the career that will go along with that path.
“Each teacher will talk to their class about their college experience and any careers they had before teaching to give the kids some real-life information about that,” she added.
The goal is to help students know, by the time they reach high school, the general direction they hope to go in.
“This sets students up to take classes in high school that are more geared toward their area of expertise and interest,” McVan said. “Instead of waiting, it is nice to start that process early.”
At the junior high, all students take the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) and eight graders take a career class.
“(In the class) they use tools to help them find out where their interests are and their proficiencies are, so they can start making decisions about that,” McVan said.
Regardless of all the discussion and preparation that goes in school, McVan said parents are still the most important part of their student’s decision-making process.
“Parents are always the best people for students to talk to about what might be good for them based on what they see them do in school and their interests,” she said.
“It is important for them to tell students their own experiences,” she said. “They can talk about other family members and their experiences, whether they have taken the college route or not and how they are satisfied in their careers. Reflecting on the life experiences of the people closest to them is a good way to learn about it. Build into them that it is not just about the money, it is about satisfaction and doing something you love.”
Resources for parents can be found on the Liberty Hill High School counselor’s webpage, or at collegeboard.org.