Overcoming Obstacles

Lesson 2: Colleges, Universities, and Technical Schools



objectives

  • Students identify the differences among universities, colleges, community colleges, and technical schools.

  • Students will clarify their postsecondary education needs in terms of schools’ strengths, requirements, tuitions, and locations.

materials

  • A local road or transit map (Starter)

  • An assortment of college descriptions, brochures, and catalogs from your school library, enough for each pair of students (Include four-year, community, and technical colleges, with an emphasis on local schools.) (Part I)

  • One copy of the “College Survey” activity sheet for each student (Parts I and II)

  • One copy of the “Narrowing the Field” activity sheet for each student (Part II)

  • One copy of the “Prep for College” activity sheet for each student (Part II)

  • One copy of the “Bronx Roots Still Nurture Career Paths” activity sheet for each student (Part III)

Starter (3 minutes)

Show students a local road or transit map. Point out the locations of the school and another landmark. Ask, “How would you get from the school to this landmark?” Let the class discuss various routes and options. Ask, “What is the best way to get there? What do you need to know in order to make the trip?” (The best way is probably the most direct route. You need to know the roads and/or transportation options in order to identify the most direct or best route.)

Tell students that rewarding careers are the destinations and colleges, universities, and technical schools are the different options for getting there. Explain that they will begin to explore the different post-high school roads available.

Part I: Two-Year Colleges, Four-Year Colleges (15 minutes)

Purpose: Students understand the differences between two-year colleges and four-year colleges.

1. Students read about different types of colleges.

Tell students that they are going to investigate some of the postsecondary education options available to them. Divide the class into pairs and give each pair of students a description, brochure, or catalog from a local college.

Explain to students that each pair are going to present their college to the rest of the class. As students read about their colleges, have them underline or circle any words or terms that need defining or further discussion. Discuss and define the following, along with any other terms students may be confused about, as needed:

  • Community colleges: These are local colleges that offer associate’s degree programs that usually take two years of full-time study. Many students transfer to a four-year college to earn their bachelor’s degree.
  • Technical/occupational/vocational schools: These schools provide occupational training that leads to a diploma or certification in a field. Some community colleges offer joint programs with technical schools so that students can earn college credits along with their vocational training.
  • Four-year colleges: Four-year colleges offer bachelor’s degree programs that require approximately 120 credits to graduate and usually take four years of full-time study.
  • Universities: Universities are large institutions that include a college of arts and/or sciences, professional schools, and graduate studies. Like four-year colleges, universities also offer undergraduate degrees.

In their presentations, students should include information on degree programs, tuition, location, transportation options, entrance requirements, clubs, facilities, and sports. Give students a few minutes to prepare their presentations.

2. Students share information about different colleges.

When students are finished working, distribute the “College Survey” activity sheet. Have each pair present its school to the class. As students listen to their classmates, have them use the activity sheet to note information they think is important or interesting.

3. Students match careers/professions with two-year and four-year colleges.

Have students use the notes on their “College Survey” activity sheet to find one or more colleges that fit the jobs, careers, or professions that interest them. Tell them to mark career-appropriate colleges on their activity sheets. Have students consult with their partners to verify their choices and answer any further questions.

Part II: Narrow the Field (15 minutes)

Purpose: Students identify factors that influence school choice, including tuition, location, and requirements.

1. Students compare tuition and other costs.

Distribute the “Narrowing the Field” activity sheet. Have students select three colleges from their “College Survey” activity sheets and write the names of these colleges at the top of each column on the “Narrowing the Field” sheet. Direct each pair to compute the cost of a degree at the colleges in which they are interested (generally 60 credits for associate’s degrees and 120 credits for bachelor’s degrees). Have students discuss the information with their partners and write it on their “Narrowing the Field” activity sheets. Students will be surprised and probably discouraged by the cost of higher education. Tell them that in future lessons they will learn about different ways to pay for their education, including scholarships, grants, and loans.

2. Students consider location and transportation factors.

Ask pairs to analyze their colleges in relation to where they live. Could they commute? Is there public transportation? Would they need a car? Would they have to live on campus or close to the school? Have each pair review the transportation information on their “College Survey” sheet and add it to their “Narrowing the Field” sheets.

3. Students compare college entrance requirements.

Write the following terms on the board: “SAT scores,” “GPA,” “class rank,” and “personal interview.” Explain these terms to students as needed. Because there are limited facilities, colleges have requirements such as these in order to select students from among those who apply. Direct students to research the specific requirements for the schools in which they are interested. Then, distribute the “Prep for College” activity sheet to students. Have students check off the courses that they have already taken and make note of the requirements that they have yet to complete. Have students add the new information to complete their “Narrowing the Field” activity sheets.

4. Students consider other factors related to choosing a college.

Write the following terms on the board: “campus,” “facilities,” “sports,” and “clubs.” Elicit from students a definition for each term. Discuss with students why these factors should be considered when choosing a college. Point out that though it is very unlikely that one school will meet all of their needs, they should still look for a school that has as many of their ideal characteristics as possible. Have pairs review their “College Survey” sheets for this information. Give students a few minutes to add this new data to their “Narrowing the Field” activity sheets.

5. Students rank the colleges in which they are interested.

Point out to students that they now have considerable information about the colleges in which they are interested. Tell students to number the colleges in their survey from one to three in order of preference (one being the top preference) and to share their results with their partners. Encourage them to ask questions about their classmates’ choices, pointing out, for example, any factors that may have been overlooked.

Part III: The Right Stuff (15 minutes)

Purpose: Students listen to and discuss a real-life success story and apply what they have learned.

1. Students read a real-life success story.

Distribute the “Bronx Roots Still Nurture Career Paths” activity sheet. Have students read the article alone or in small groups.

2. Students discuss the story and how it might apply to their lives.

Begin a discussion of the article by asking questions such as the following: “What do you have in common with Mr. Cappelli? With Ms. Cruz? Why did Mr. Cappelli give Ms. Cruz a job? How do you think Ms. Cruz’s schoolwork changed after the first summer she worked for Mr. Cappelli?”

Ask students to consider how a young Louie Cappelli might have benefited from this module.

Conclusion (2 minutes)

Have students review the activity sheets that they completed in this lesson. Ask, “What can you do next semester or this summer to make you better prepared for college?” Elicit from students the following key points that were taught in this lesson:

  • There are different kinds of colleges, each offering different degrees.
  • Select a college that offers degrees or programs in your field of interest.
  • Factors to take into account when choosing a college include tuition, location, and entrance requirements.

Student Assessment

  1. List four factors that are important in choosing a college.
  2. Where can you get information on colleges in which you are interested?
  3. What steps can you take toward being accepted by the college of your choice?

Extensions for Lesson 2: Colleges, Universities, and Technical Schools

Using Quotations

“In all things, success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.” —Confucius

Have students write a paragraph about how this lesson will help them when choosing a college.

Addressing Multiple Learning Styles

Have students write songs or poems that describe their ideal institute of higher learning.

Have students recite their poems or lyrics to their song.

Writing in Your Journal

Have students write about what they hope to get out of the institution they choose to attend.

Have students describe why they think they want to attend certain institutions.

Using Technology

Have students take “virtual tours” of colleges by visiting the websites of the schools in which they are interested. Have students describe what they saw and what they liked most about each school.

Homework

Ask students to research which schools have good reputations for programs in the field of study they wish to pursue. Ask them why the school has a good reputation (e.g., because of faculty, research, curriculum, etc.).

Have students make a list of five schools that they could possibly attend.

Additional Resources

Have students research books and articles on applying to college and ask them to share their findings with the class. Compile a list of resources and provide each student with a copy.

Activity Sheets

Customize This Activity Sheet

Using Google Slides, you can customize every Overcoming Obstacles activity sheet in the Elementary, Middle, and High School levels.

Click on the button below to open a link to the Google Slides version of this activity sheet. In order to begin editing the file, you will first need to save a copy of the slide to your Google account. You can do this by selecting “File” and then “Make a Copy.”

If you have any questions or need assistance with our Activity Sheet Customization feature, please contact us at [email protected].

Customize This Activity Sheet

Using Google Slides, you can customize every Overcoming Obstacles activity sheet in the Elementary, Middle, and High School levels.

Click on the button below to open a link to the Google Slides version of this activity sheet. In order to begin editing the file, you will first need to save a copy of the slide to your Google account. You can do this by selecting “File” and then “Make a Copy.”

If you have any questions or need assistance with our Activity Sheet Customization feature, please contact us at [email protected].

Customize This Activity Sheet

Using Google Slides, you can customize every Overcoming Obstacles activity sheet in the Elementary, Middle, and High School levels.

Click on the button below to open a link to the Google Slides version of this activity sheet. In order to begin editing the file, you will first need to save a copy of the slide to your Google account. You can do this by selecting “File” and then “Make a Copy.”

If you have any questions or need assistance with our Activity Sheet Customization feature, please contact us at [email protected].

Customize This Activity Sheet

Using Google Slides, you can customize every Overcoming Obstacles activity sheet in the Elementary, Middle, and High School levels.

Click on the button below to open a link to the Google Slides version of this activity sheet. In order to begin editing the file, you will first need to save a copy of the slide to your Google account. You can do this by selecting “File” and then “Make a Copy.”

If you have any questions or need assistance with our Activity Sheet Customization feature, please contact us at [email protected].


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