Sharing small (and large) successes
Now that the data is all in, and we've shared the numbers with the world (see the press release here), we want to be sure to put a human face on Oregon College Application Week. We're still hearing from site coordinators about the one or two moments that showed them the importance of the event for their students and communities. These are the moments that remind us why CAW exists -- and why we're working to expand the initiative into more Oregon schools and community based organizations in 2014.
At one high school, the seniors gathered in a room to complete their applications to the local community college. Sitting with the forms in front of them, several students stumbled over some of the questions. For example, they weren't sure how to determine the length of their (and their parents') residency in Oregon. A few even wondered about the name questions that ask for first, last, and prior names. In that room, students had a site coordinator and volunteers who could sit with them and help them navigate all of the questions that gave them pause. For those of us who have been through the college application process before, these questions might seem simple. But what's really simple is the fact that they provided a stumbling block for students. If these students had been at home, attempting to complete the application without benefit of someone who'd been through it before, would they have given up? Would one question have been enough to prevent an opportunity for a student to enter a postsecondary program in the fall?
Another coordinator shared the story of a student who planned to attend a community college. He believed that a four-year university wasn't for him - not because he'd found a program at the community college that was a better fit but because he didn't think a university would would want him. During his school's CAW event, the coordinator encouraged him to just try and see what came of it. Reluctantly, he submitted an application to Western Oregon University. A few weeks later, he paid his enrollment deposit. Now, this student talks about how he can't wait to be at a university and how he knows he's "university material" because they admitted him. They want him!
We'll share more of these kinds of stories in the coming weeks. We think they're the reason CAW exists in our state - and must continue to exist. We hope you'll agree!