At Chesterton High School, we believe it is our job to help students find their purpose, realize their full potential and develop a plan for life after high school.
According to the National Student Clearinghouse data, 70 percent of the students at Chesterton High School enroll in a two- or four-year college or university. This data helped us develop programs and activities to meet the needs of our students. For the past two years, our guidance department has provided a College Application Camp to help incoming seniors meet the demands of filling out college applications, understanding the financial realities of attending a college or university and informing them of the many scholarship opportunities.
Our College Application Camp is held during a three-day period in August before school begins. Students are exposed to the many different aspects of what it takes to get into college. Our counselors give each student a holistic review of the college application and explain what college admission officers are looking for in an applicant.
Students also engage in writing a college application essay. Chesterton High School English teachers help students with writing prompts, provide examples of what a good essay looks like and assist with writing a draft of an essay. Peer and teacher reviews are part of the camp.
Students also participate in our college and career preparation program, Naviance. In Naviance, students complete a resume and ask teachers for letters of recommendation.
At Chesterton High School, we educate students on the financial aspects of attending college. Students are able to create an account in a computer program called Parchment, where they learn how to request transcripts and gain a better understanding of the Financial Aid process. Students learn about FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), Merit-Based Aid versus Need-Based Aid and how scholarships help in the overall financial commitment.
Incoming high school seniors have many challenges and decisions to make upon their graduation the following year. Our job as a high school is to provide our students with the instruction and guidance to help them make their plans a reality.
We have an obligation to ensure every student is college and career ready, and our College Application Camp is one way to help our students prepare for applying for college while helping reduce possible fears and anxieties that can accompany the process.
If we can help our students believe in themselves and prepare them for life after high school, we can help them achieve their goals and dreams.
Brent Martinson is assistant principal at Chesterton High School and a member of the READY NWI K-12 Team. The opinions are the writer's.
The READY NWI partnership supports the unique aspects of community, school, and student, and embraces a commitment to regional thinking and acting in order to ensure prosperity by meeting the skill and education needs of employers throughout Northwest Indiana.