Junior year is the last year that students can apply for Oklahoma’s Promise. It is important to discuss college funding and the application process for students to be college ready. For this campus visit, students play a game themed like "The Game of Life" to consider their choices in preparing for college applications and starting college. They also have time to work on a mock college application and learn about the online "Get a Life" game to help them consider their postsecondary options.
As 11th-graders, what do we need to be doing to be college ready?
Understand the admissions process and common college expenses.
Analyze how personal choices impact college applications and funding opportunities.
Understand how Oklahoma’s Promise and FAFSA help with college expenses.
Presentation Slides (attached)
One Life to Live Score Card (attached; 1 half-sheet per student)
Mock College Application (attached; 1 per student)
Using the attached Presentation Slides, show slide 1 and make introductions. Move to slide 2 and go over expectations and norms. Ask students to take some time and think about where they see themselves in two years. Have volunteers share out with the whole group. Display slides 3–4 and review the essential question and objectives for this campus visit. Share that today they will be playing a version of The Game of Life to think about the decisions that will help them get to those two-year goals.
Move to slide 5. This animates the spinner that will set us off on our Life journey. Explain to students that they will be making decisions throughout the game and keeping track of those decisions on a point sheet. Pass out the attached One Life to Live Score Card. Explain that in each step of the game they will be given a choice. They will think about what choice they would want to make. Emphasize that this is not about being perfect. We know we have to balance life and school, but this game will help us consider how to make choices that will help us find balance while also experiencing the long-term results we want.
Transition through slides 6–45 to play the game. Note that first there is a question slide, then a slide with two cars. Click to animate this slide and the cars will drive away revealing the point values for each choice. Give students time to record the point values that matched their choice and talk about what might make one choice better than the other.
Display slide 46. Share with students this is the last year that they can apply for Oklahoma’s Promise. Provide students with information about Oklahoma’s Promise and answer any questions they might have.
Move to slide 47 and show the video, or just use the graphic on slide 48 depending on how much time is available. Share with students that another great way to think about their future choices is through playing the K20 Center’s online "Get a Life" game. Explain that the QR code on their One Life to Live score card is a link to the "Get a Life" game. Playing "Get a Life" is a great way for students to think about income and budget as they continue to make college and career choices.
Pass out the Mock College Application to each student. Explain that this is a place where they can record information that is needed for many college applications. Tell students that it is a good idea to keep a record of the advanced classes they take, extracurricular activities they participate in, jobs they have, and volunteer work they do because it can be easier than trying to remember all of it later. Use slide 49 if needed to clarify the GPA piece of the application
Show the sample essay prompts on slide 50. Explain how important essays are as many colleges use them not just for admissions but also for scholarships. Finally, emphasize that students should have a plan when requesting letters of recommendation. By thinking about what needs to be highlighted in their personal backgrounds and accomplishments, they can make sure those writing their letters cover all of the important points that they may not have known about. For example, your social studies teacher might now know about your accomplishments in the band, or that you are a first-generation college student. Providing those details can help the people writing your letters give you as much support as they can.
Move to slide 51. In closing, ask students if anything on the application surprised them, or if they have questions about any of the parts of the application. Take time to respond and allow students to fill in parts of the mock application as time allows.
When taking students on a campus visit, half of the students can engage with the activity above while the rest take a tour of the campus. Then, swap the two groups and repeat the activities.
College can be a life-altering experience for students, and not only academically. Here are just a few of the ways in which college can change students' lives for the better: Earning a bachelor's degree will allow students to earn, on average, $1 million more than high school graduates over the course of their careers (Abel & Deitz, 2014). College offers students an opportunity to build relationships with mentors and peers that will benefit them throughout their careers (Campbell, Smith, Dugan, & Komives, 2012). College graduates tend to have more job satisfaction, jobs that offer a greater sense of accomplishment, more independence and opportunities for creativity, and more social interactions in their jobs than noncollege graduates (Oreopoulos & Petronijevic, 2013). College graduates increase their chance of employment. Over the last 20 years, the unemployment rate for college graduates has been approximately half that of high school graduates (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018). College helps students develop skills that prepare them for careers in the tech-driven economy, including nonroutine, abstract skills that aid in problem solving, multitasking, and creativity (Oreopoulos & Petronijevic, 2013).
Abel, J. R., & Deitz, R. (2014). Do the benefits of college still outweigh the costs? Current Issues in Economics and Finance, 20(3).
Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2018). Labor force statistics from the current population survey. https://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat07.htm
Campbell, C. M., Smith, M., Dugan, J. P., & Komives, S. R. (2012). Mentors and college student leadership outcomes: The importance of position and process. The Review of Higher Education, 35(4), 595-625.
Oreopoulos, P. & Petronijevic, U. (2013). Making college worth it: A review of the returns to higher education. The Future of Children, 23(1), 41-65).