Increasing exposure and understanding of post-secondary education: breaking down barriers to college for participants in career and educational programs

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Erica Vandermore (Creator)
Amy Wagner (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
Jessica Weiler

Abstract: Through this improvement initiative, we sought to investigate whether the positive impact of exposure to the college environment can extend to those previously enrolled in a Career and Educational Program (CEP), which is without a traditional college planning counselor. Very few of the participants in CEP schools go on to attend college or obtain advanced certifications. In one CEP, during the 2018-2019 school year, only two out of 150 students went on to continue their education beyond the program (CEP Reports, 2019). We sought to increase the pathways for CEP students to post-secondary education using Tinto’s (1993) student integration theory. To increase pathways to college we built a virtual platform to provide guided explanations of the enrollment process as well as provide virtual exposure to a post-secondary educational environment. The participants were asked to view a website then fill out a questionnaire pertaining to the usefulness of this site and their understanding of the processes involved. Through the exposure of these participants to the college environment, we sought to break down some of the barriers to post-secondary education. It must be noted that the intervention methods of this disquisition have changed significantly due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent limitations on in-person interactions. The original intervention would have provided students with in-person exposure to the college environment, much like the dual enrollment program. To compensate for limitations placed on in person interactions we created a virtual platform to expose participants to the college environment. Although this approach was not ideal, there were benefits. The virtual platform was much more cost-effective, easier to access and utilize and has the potential to reach a wider range of potential students.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2021
Postsecondary education
Education, Higher
School enrollment
Universities and colleges -- Orientation

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