This is part one of our 4-Part College Match series with Sage Oak School Counselor, Coral Prendergast. Throughout these episodes, Coral shares informative and tactical resources for navigating the process of finding the right college for your student. Part 1 focuses on identifying what the student wants from the college.
Topic 1: What is important to you?
Topic 2: Take the Self-Survey
Topic 3: Understanding Survey Categories
Topic 4: Processing Your results
Topic 5: What Do You Want College to Do For You?
Thank you for listening to the Sage Studio podcast presented by Sage Oak Charter Schools and hosted by Tiffiny Webster, M.A.Ed. We invite you to follow the show and leave your review below. Sage Oak Charter Schools is an independent study nonclassroom based TK-12 personalized learning public charter school serving students in Southern California. Visit sageoak.education for more information.
Sage Oak Website
Well, hello and welcome to another episode of the Sage Studio Podcast. My name's Tiffiny Webster, and today I'm joined by Coral Prendergast. She is our school counselor here at Sage Oak and she is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to helping your kids plan for college. She has so many fantastic resources and she's really she just really creates these valuable resources for parents to make it easy to understand and to navigate. And so I invited her on the podcast today so that she could walk us through some of the material from her upcoming workshop, which is going to be awesome. Coral has a workshop coming up on this Thursday, March 16th, and if you want to join the workshop, you can look for the registration link in the Sage News and sign up for the workshop. She's going to have ton of information there, but we wanted to give you a sneak peek. So, I invited her on the podcast today so we could go through it a little bit. Hi, Coral. How are you? Hi. Good. Thank you so much, Tiffiny. I'm happy to be here. I am so glad that you are, and I am so excited about this topic. As I was telling you when I was in our high school department, this was one of my favorite things I loved doing with our students. I loved helping them to plan their pathways for life after Sage Oak right? If college was the right one or if they were going into career. So fun when we work with students. I love it., absolutely. All right, so take us through some of the information that you're going to be going through in the workshop. Let's dive in.. Okay, I'm going to share my screen So, first I just want to encourage students to really find out about themselves. So, starting with, you know, getting to know yourself. What kind of a learner are you? What's important to you? What are your interests? What are your abilities? What are your passions? And really trying to focus on who you are before you go out to look for what you're looking for in a college. because that's going to play a huge part in where you land for college. Definitely want to start there. I can actually make this bigger for you guys. So you want to take a big, long look at yourself and also what are your attitudes towards college? Are you just going because your parents are making you? Or is this something you really want to do? Do you want to go far away? You know, do you want to be close to your family? All those kinds of things play a huge part in finding the right fit for you. And it's important to find the right fit for you, because this is a huge investment, right? If you're looking especially to go to wait to a four year college it's a big financial investment. It's a big personal investment for your family. And so it's important that you don't just like Google what's the best college, but you actually spend time looking to see what's important to you and what a good fit for would be for you because, ultimately, like there's actually a strategic, intentional way you should go about looking for colleges and it starts with who you are. I'm so glad you mentioned that because it is a really important piece of the puzzle and. I think so many times we tend to just gravitate towards universities or schools that we know about or that our friends went to or maybe our parents went to, and they may not be the right fit depending on what it is that student is looking for. So taking the time to just stop for a minute before you even get started and headed in the wrong direction. Taking the time to just write down a few ideas. Okay, what are my interests? What do I what do I feel about college? What do I want out of college? I think that's a really great way to help students prepare for this in a way that's going to really help them personalize and find the right school for them. So I love these questions. Yeah, absolutely. And I really wanted to create resources for families, not just to present to them the information in a one and done, but more of a resource for these, for our families to be able to click on links and to be able to download worksheets to really process as a family and go through and really use it as an interactive tool. To be able to have that resource in your back pocket where you can always go back through it for all four years of high school. Really, this shouldn't be a senior year. This needs to be like ninth, 10th, 11th, really planning ahead. So this is great resources for your family that you can have access to. You'll have all of the slides, you'll have all of the links and everything, and I'll be recording it as well so that you can go back and listen to things if you want. That is such a good point that you made that college preparing for college, it's not something that you wait until your senior year to do. Actually. You need to get started much more ahead of the game so that you are really on the right path to get into the school that you want to get into. Making sure that you're choosing classes that meet their admission requirements and making sure that you're prepared to just to, to study fields that they might be offering. So I love that you are suggesting that this is something that parents and students can start looking into as early as ninth grade. Yeah, absolutely. So, the first thing that you want to start with is a self survey. So I've included here when you click on this, it's going to take you to a survey that you can put your email in and answer these questions, and it will actually email you the results immediately so that you'll have those. So it's a really great interactive thing where you can, it prompts the questions where you might not even know that you need to ask yourself these questions. These are the types of things you need to be asking yourself. So we start with a survey. And that's what I was going to say, what questions are even on the survey, like what would a student need to take a survey to discover? All personality type stuff. What are you interested in? What do you like to do? What motivates you? You know, what kind of a learner do you think you are? Do you like to participate? Do you like to just kind of sit in the back of the class? And listen and those things? And the reason that comes into play, you'll see I took the test myself. Okay, so here are my results. I'm just putting it all out there for you guys to see. And I was joking with the other counselor Ms. Ally clearly, like the most important thing to me is the academic social balance. That's my highest score, where academic ownership is my lowest score. So it kinda makes sense in the scheme of life that I was a communications major, right? Like I want to talk to people, I want to, you know, get to know them. I want, the social aspect is super important to me, where actually being in class and the content of tests and notes and all that's not my thing. That's not what I enjoy most. But this helped me really learn about myself that like., that makes sense to me. That is who I am. You know what I mean? I'm a participant learner too. Like I want to raise my hand, I want to ask questions, I want to dialogue, I want to be in small groups. I want to talk about it like that's who I am at my core. And so it makes a lot of sense where my strengths are and where my weaknesses are on this to know that's the kind of school that I want to go to. because for me, I want to make sure if these are my scores, that they've got a great social surrounding at the college. They've got clubs I can join. They've got different interactive things. I was a student athlete, so for me that was really important to have that social circle. As well as like I need small class sizes because I'm the one that wants to talk in class. I might get to know my professor and have him know me. I shouldn't be in a lecture hall with 300 people. because I will tune out and just taking notes isn't how I learn best. Right? So this is a great tool to learn, like, hey, how what do I need as far as for me to succeed in college? Like, what's important at my core? Who am I for what I'm going to take into that college? Okay, so that's so good. So just to back that up a little bit, this self-study is not about. You know where you rank as far as like in academics. This is not a self-study where you're going to have to either get the answers right or wrong and you get a score at the end. This is really about getting to know yourself, getting to know your personality, so that you can start to understand what types of schools would best match your personality. Right. Okay.. Okay. So tell us more about these categories that we are looking at, because even though you talked a little bit about the academic social versus just the academic ownership, how do we learn more about what these categories are and what they mean? Okay. So on the next slide, I've actually linked out here, so you can click on each one of these and it's going to go into detail in explaining what that means as far as your score, if you have a higher score. What kind of schools or things that you should look for because what that actually means, or if you have a lower score and things like that. So one of my other highest scores was school enthusiasm. Like I was pumped to go to college. I was so excited just because I thought new beginnings, new people to meet, you know, new experiences. But so some people. They might not be high in that category. You know, it might be something where they're timid or scared or moving away from home, and that's, you know, frightening. And so really to approach it from studying these different categories. After you get your scores back, dig in and read about them. You guys can see here. If you click on any one of them, it's going to take you and explain. If you're scored in the thirties or above you know this, you're fluent with your emotions and feelings, like you process things well, and where that translate is, you know, are you going to be okay being away from your family on your own? How do you process things? How do you deal with stress? How do you deal with emotional ups and downs? Are you going to be okay on your own? Or is this something maybe you need to consider in that? Maybe I should live close enough. Hey, I'm still struggling with some things and managing my stress and coping strategies. Should I be a little closer to home in case I need to go home for something? You know what I mean? Or I need that support system built in. So just different ways to look at things to make sure that you're understanding what you really need and who you are before you head off. I think this is so great because the one you're reading is on emotional vocabulary. That's the , the category that you're talking about. And I think that's really insightful because I don't know that it would be automatic for a student or anyone to say like, where do I score my emotional vocabulary? How am I feeling about my emotional vocabulary when I'm looking into colleges? Right. They're not thinking about that.. In those terms, but as you unpack it and you start to read through, what does that really mean then? I think it really is important because it's true. We all kind of have a certain threshold. You know, being able to jump in the car and get home on the weekend is totally different than having to take, a five hour flight and rent a car and you know, all of those different things. So, these really do give some serious food for thought. To students and families as they are developing kind of who they are and what they're looking to get out of the college experience. Okay, great. Can you click on another one? Let's just look at one other one. Yeah. How about growth mindset? Okay. What does growth mindset say? So if you're in the mid thirties to hire, it shows that you believe that hard work is necessary to achieve your goals. This is an important skill for college . In other words, you're aware that raw talent is not enough to achieve excellence, you're going to have to work hard. And do you have that, what it takes to be able to work hard and get past things, or do you get knocked down easily by challenges and things like that? So, I think that's really an important thing to think about when you're looking at going to college and how hard some of the subjects may.. Sure. It's like your aptitude to stretch yourself. Right. To because sometimes when you are, even in something like a media marketing class that sounds very creative. There may be of course in statistics that's required. Right. And are you going to be able to push yourself through that and have a growth mindset to see maybe how you think something doesn't apply to you and maybe how it could and kind of stretching yourself to get through that in order to meet your end goal of earning a degree in a certain area. So, yeah. Okay. I see now how that would play a part in it. That you have to be aware of your aptitude and where you land in these certain categories. Okay. Yeah. Good. So that's kind of the first part is just taking those quiz, getting to know yourself. And then the second part of this, well, we want you to process it. So I definitely want you to spend some time, I've linked out like a place that you can journal this, but with your family, really talk about, okay, what are my highest scores? What does that mean? Like we were just talking about diving deep into reading these explanations and saying, oh, this is why I'm high in that. Yeah. That is kind of like me. And this is an experience that I had. and this is how it went and you know, that makes sense. Or hey, these are areas that I need to be aware of that are maybe harder for me when I'm looking at things. So just a time to process it and kind of look at what you learned from that. And then we go into, What do you want your college to do for you? So when you're really thinking about why you want to go to college it's important to think about is it, because some of the things that are listed here, I want to learn about different cultures and people and backgrounds, and I want the exposure to maybe things I haven't. Seen or been a part of yet? Is it because you want to just expand your potential learning or earnings for your life?, you know, are you going, cause you want a job that's going to make a lot of money and this is the degree you have to get there. Is that your sole reason for going or is it because you want to be independent? You want to learn life skills of having to do your own laundry and, you know, living in an apartment or a dorm and getting along with others and figuring out how to do all., what are the reasons that you're maybe wanting to go to college and taking that in as well? And so I've linked out an assessment here. And a lot of this is not my own stuff. I want to be totally transparent in that these are books that I've read. This is great websites over the years that I've just learned to go to for students to help them. So this is a resource from a great book called College Match. And so you can click on this, it's already done for you, and you rate, Hey, how important is this to me? Or is this not important at all? Because all of these things should be taken into consideration when you start the next part of looking for a college. I love this. This is so tactical too. I know that people want to know exactly what to do and have a process for thinking through these thoughts, so I love that you included the little journal link out on the previous slide that's going to be great so that they can use that tool to really write out some of their interests and review some of their test results from the self survey with their families and have that great conversation. And I love that you've compiled. This resource for us. I mean, you guys, this is what I'm talking about. She is such a wealth of knowledge and she is sharing it with us, and this is what I wanted to spotlight because she has really made it easy. She's done all the hard work of all the research and reading the books and going on the website and figuring all of that out, and then she's bringing it to you in a way that is super easy to digest and take advantage of and this the bullet points that you have here are such great food for thought, like really taking the time to get to know what your strengths are what you're looking for in a college, and what you want the college to do for you or to deliver so that you can move on to your next goals or life beyond college and what you're really going to college for. I think this is a great way for students to process all those decisions. So love this. Yeah. And I think that's going to wrap up getting to know yourself. Okay. That's the first step. Step one is getting to know yourself, really self-evaluating who you are, what's important to you, what those interests, abilities your personality. You know, we're all wired differently and so I think it's really important to make sure that you find the right fit for you. You don't want to end up somewhere and you get there and. These are not my people. Like these. I hate the food. I hate the weather, I hate, you know, the culture that's on the campus. And so making sure that you're really putting thought into who you are and what's important to you and what you want to get out of college when you get there. I think that is so important. Okay. Can you stop sharing your screen for one second? Just cause I want you to come back to me. There you are. Okay. Good.. So I love that this is the first part. So step one is figuring out these things, who you are and what you want your college to do for you. And then once you have a good handle on that, what's the next step? So the next step is to start researching colleges and looking at what you want in a college. So what kind of size g geographical location, you know, class sizes, what activities they have, what kinds of things are important to you when you actually get there? What are you looking for in a college? And then how to build out your college list of where you want to apply.. Okay. I love that. All right, so we are going to come back with a second episode where Coral is going to walk us through that part. So part two of the process. So now that we understand who we are and what we're looking for, we're going to use that to match our interests and what we want to get out of the college experience with the college that's going to offer us those things. Right? Awesome. Okay, I love it. Please stay tuned. Come back for that second episode of this really great college preparation series that we're doing here with Coral and we'll talk about all about matching your interests and your desires with the right school. Thanks Tiffiny.