Post Secondary Search

Helping your child decide what to do after high school

Connie Brown, GT Resource Teacher

    • Resource teacher for the WRHS, AHS, AWest HS, PHS, SLHS, JHS, GHS, BCHS, TWCS, Doral Academy, & CMS Gifted Talented Programming. Supports students’ ALPs, goals, and entry into the GT program
    • 31 years as a classroom teacher (26 in Jeffco), former GT Center teacher
    • BA, University of Colorado at Boulder
    • MA, Lesley College, Cambridge
    • Local, National, and International Speaker


Think in your head/Draw a picture...

What did you want to be?

1st grade?

High school?

Post College?


What changes have you noticed?

Give students an index card or small piece of paper to draw their picture(s) and share with neighbor. Ask a few to share what they would have liked to be in 1st grade. Ask if they would tell their 6 year old self to stop playing or dancing or drawing or digging for dinosaur bones.

Tell them it’s okay to change directions over their life and what they want to be today doesn’t have to be what they want to be in ten years or four yers or even next week. But this is where we are today.


Strategies for talking with your child about his/her future

Introduction to myriad of post-secondary options

Strategies and Resources for post-secondary planning

Add YOUR goals here…(what are you hoping to learn tonight?)

Remember: You are not the driver

(you are not even the navigator)


Start early with college campus visits--7th or 8th grade

Help them conduct informal interviews of friends and acquaintances

Teach children about money management

Be willing to let them consider other avenues

Know Your


Vocational work/Community/JuCo



Private vs Public vs for profit





Suggested Reading

Gallup/Purdue Findings

Students who felt college experience was positive:

  • developed a relationship with a mentor; took on a project that lasted a semester or more; did a job or internship directly connected to their chosen field; or became deeply involved in a campus organization or activity (as opposed to minimally involved in a range of things).

Regarding Money:

  • Significant amounts of debt do have a long-term impact on graduates’ well-being, so it may be a mistake to borrow more money to go to one college over another. You think you’re expanding your horizons, but it’s possible that every subsequent step is circumscribed by the need to repay loans rather than any larger professional strategy.

Big Take-Away:

  • The overarching takeaway from this ambitious canvas of the college experience is something that should be obvious but is too often overlooked, especially in these brand-fixated times:

What college gives you hinges almost entirely on what you give it.


Gallup/Purdue Index

Gallup/Purdue Index

  • Professors will excite me about learning.
  • Instructors will care about me as a person.
  • Mentors will encourage me to pursue my goals.
  • Projects may take a semester or more to complete.
  • Internships are available to apply what I learned in class.
  • Extracurricular activities are available to connect me with students with similar interests and with opportunities to try something new.


How are faculty members evaluated by the college/university? Is mentoring/direct interaction to support students one of the elements of evaluation?

How does the college/university support faculty-student interaction outside the classroom, e.g., a faculty member joining a group of students for lunch, service learning, and faculty advising of student organizations?


What internships/co-ops does the college/university offer to students, e.g., work arrangements where students can apply directly what they are learning in the classroom?

What percentage of students are involved in internship/co-op programs?

Are scholarships or stipends available to support study-abroad programs?

What does the college/university do to promote all students’ active involvement in campus organizations, extracurricular activities and volunteerism?


Gallup/Purdue Index

How much has your total Cost of Attendance (COA) risen in the past year?

What is the average debt of your students who borrow?

What is the average starting salary of graduates in the major in which I’m interested?

Do you plan a tuition freeze? Do you have a guaranteed tuition rate for four years?

What is the 4-year graduation rate? How does the institution facilitate students graduating in four years?

Guide child to consider budget, but don’t let initial numbers stop the research


Great Resources

Naviance College info, scholarships

Niche College info

Track the data

Create a Spread Sheet

student sample


What new ideas do you have for talking with your child about his or her future path?

What is something new you’ve learned about post-secondary options? (Include strategies and/or resources)

Which of your own learning goals did you meet tonight?





Parent Seminar Post Secondary Search - Google Slides