Middle school is the best time to start talking about college and career options. Students’ identities are beginning to take root. And that can influence the trajectories they choose to pursue in school and life. When young people are prepared for what lies ahead, they are better positioned to succeed.
Having a college education opens doors and levels the playing field. But navigating that path can be overwhelming. Nearly 80% of Aim High students will be be the first generation in their family to attend college—meaning higher education is unchartered territory.
Aim High’s model is designed to nurture students’ potential and promote a college-going mentality. We achieve this through:
Our signature youth-development course, Issues + Choices, gets students thinking about higher education and their future. The class covers college admissions requirements (in California, the A-G requirements), financial aid, degrees, and career paths. Students visit local universities, which for many is the first time they’ve set foot on a college campus. Our teachers reflect on their own educational experiences, and this helps students understand how the choices they make in school can shape their future.
Each of our campuses hosts Futures Night, an informational session that prepares students and families for life after Aim High. Futures Night facilitates a conversation between students and their families that will result in an excited and prepared college-bound teen.
Aim High partners with corporations each summer to host career visits for our students. These experiences highlight the array of professions students can pursue. Corporate partners who have participated include KPMG, Pandora, Bank of America, AirBnB, Twitter, and Deloitte. Visits are approximately three hours, but their impact on students is long-lasting.