Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Sandy seniors plan for life after high school

Students explore options during College Application Week Nov. 3-4

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 3-4, nearly all of the 360 seniors at Sandy High School gathered in a few classrooms to begin planning for life after high school.

The work sessions at Sandy High School were part of Oregon’s College Application Week, an initiative of Oregon Goes To College program designed to help fulfill Oregon’s 40-40-20 goal set forth by Senate Bill 253 in 2011. POST PHOTO: KYLIE WRAY - Sandy High seniors get help applying for college scholarships on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

The goal aspires to a future where 40 percent of Oregonians will earn a bachelor’s degree or higher, 40 percent will earn an associate’s degree or other postsecondary credential, and 20 percent will hold a high school diploma or equivalent by 2025.

Stations were set up with Google Chromebook computers for students to get help from counselors, teachers and college professionals in preparing their materials for college entry. In addition to stations for students to apply for schools, scholarships and register for a FAFSA identification code, the rotation included talks with SHS counselors on graduation requirements, assistance with resumes and a job search station for students who aren’t sure if college is the right path for them.

“We’re really addressing all levels of post-high school education,” said Cathy Calloway, a SHS counselor. “We just want to provide that for them one last time … and it’s a good time to take advantage of the resources while they’ve got them.”POST PHOTO: KYLIE WRAY - Students receive assistance from counselors and Mt. Hood Community College admissions staff in applying to college.

Jennifer McNeil, Sandy High college and career center coordinator, added the goal was to help every student that came in so they would each have a better understanding of what steps they need to take to reach their own goals when they left.

“It’s one thing to give the students information on how to go about applying to colleges and financial aid and encourage them to apply by certain deadlines, but it’s more effective to actually have them sit down and start the process with you,” McNeil said.

For those students who may have needed additional help, Mt. Hood Community College admissions staff and ASPIRE volunteers were available to chat.

As opposed to last year, when the sign-up-based program resulted in a low turnout, students this year were asked to participate as part of their class activities.

McNeil said nearly every senior participated this time. Despite the diverse options for students to begin planning, a high percentage were setting their sights on a future involving college.POST PHOTO: KYLIE WRAY - Students received guidance about meeting graduation requirements during Oregon College Application Week at Sandy High School.

“We don’t expect a high school student to have his or her life mapped out,” McNeil said. “It’s often hard for teenagers to see beyond the next football game, let alone where they envision themselves three, five or 10 years down the road. 

“But if we take the time now to help students learn about what options and resources are available to them in the future and how to go about pursuing those options and resources, they will be in a better position to be self-sufficient and successful later on.”