College Awareness: Involving Alumni from your High School

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1 Why does it matter? Alumni from your high school help current students see someone like them who is successful in college or career. Students relate to recent grads Involving alumni also keeps the alumni connected to the high school a place where they prospered and have connections. This can help the alumni stay connected to an important support structure and persist through college More experienced alumni may have resources (e.g., introduction to a hiring manager, willingness to donate to Friends of [School] Fund) that they can share with the school Suggested Roles within your School Counselors: Continue to stay in touch with alumni and ask them to come back to school to connect with current students. Publicize opportunities for current students to connect with alumni Coaches: Continue to stay in touch with alumni and ask them to come back to school to connect with current students. Publicize opportunities for current students to connect with alumni Teachers: Continue to stay in touch with alumni and ask them to come back to school to connect with current students Principals and APs: Continue to stay in touch with alumni and ask them to come back to school to connect with current students Student Groups: Ask alumni to come back and speak at events. Connect graduating students with alumni friends at colleges or universities Ready-to-Use Materials Visit to view and download most materials CPS alum College and Career videos - College students and recent grads share their college and career journey (http://vimeo.com/album/ ) Do you have a presentation or document to share? If so, please Thank you! 1

2 Key Issues and Resolutions Issue Resolution Many high school graduates who attend college do not graduate within 5 years (insert data) Effective Practice 1, 5 Many current high school students need mentors who are close to them in age and experience who can serve as positive Effective Practice 2-4, examples of what can be achieved 6 Effective Practices The Fundamentals 1. Continue to let alumni know you care about each person as an individual and want each person to be successful a. Even once our high school students graduate, we want them to be successful in their college and career! They formed important relationships with you and sometimes, a quick check-in can be the difference between staying in college and dropping out (Phoenix Military, Sullivan) 2. Invite alumni to participate in college and career going activities as mentors and resources to current high school students a. There are many opportunities for both recent grads and more experienced alumni (who are further along in their careers) to get involved! b. At i. Alumni Panel during College and Career Week (North-Grand HS) ii. Workshop co-hosted between Alumni and Counselor/Coach about scholarships, college applications or transitioning from high school to college or career, etc. 1. This is especially helpful when the alumni achieved or won something (e.g., Gates Scholarship, Posse Scholar) and can speak to the process they went through iii. Resume reviewing or essay editing one-on-one in lab or in small groups during workshop c. On campus or at their work site i. Be available for questions before/after a group attends a college tour at their school ii. Welcome incoming students on the first day of school at the campus (Kelvyn Park) iii. Host individuals or a small group of students on their campus; invite them to attend a lecture and lunch iv. Host individuals or a small group of students at their workplace for job shadowing or a Career Day d. Via the internet and phone i. Alumni can talk about their experience and/or share advice about applying, doing well in college or career, etc. 3. Ask alumni for help getting in touch with other alumni 2

3 Effective Practices As your program grows 4. Develop a contact database a. This database can include both recent graduates and alumni with more experience b. A database can help you reach out to students to ask for assistance with activities at your school c. A database may be able to be available to all alumni, so that they can contact each other (e.g., similar to how a college alumni database works) d. At the end of senior year, have students fill out important contact information, like , cell phone, and parent phone 5. Stay in touch with Alumni via social media and a. Create a Facebook page for your school s alumni. Nearly 75% of teens and young adults use social networking sites, like Facebook. 1 Although addresses and phone numbers change, their Facebook accounts usually stay constant b. Encourage alumni to post content on the page and stay in touch with each other c. Publicize events at your school, such as football games d. Ask for volunteers to assist with college and career going activities (see Effective Practice 1) e. Post information that high school students and recent HS graduates find interesting and relevant. They might like to know a favorite teacher was awarded Teacher of the Year or there might be an interesting news story about a topic many of them care about 6. Have an alumni bulletin board a. An alumni bulletin board could be filled with pictures of notable alumni and what they have achieved. It might also include more recent alumni and where they are attending college 7. Develop Career coaching program a. Engage CPS alumni and other volunteers who being coaching students in senior year and continue on through first year of college or career. Many non-profits, like US Empower, do this. However, the student has to be enrolled in the program while in high school. To develop this internally at your school, ask teachers and other adults in the school to occasionally touch base with students in their first year in college or on the job to check-in to see how they are doing. A small outreach can have a long-term impact Common Mistakes to Avoid Not asking for Alumni help Not giving alumni enough notice when asking them to attend events they are busy people! 1. Pew Research Center. Social Media and Young Adults. Feb

4 External Internal College Awareness: Involving Alumni from Coaches and Counselors Network Specialists Parents Alumni from your high school Resource Description Where to Find Community-based organizations Colleges and Universities Resource to support students on their journey to college and career Resource to support students on their journey to college and career. They will know about successful alumni events that other schools have hosted and may be able to help connect your school to other recent CPS alum Parents of recent graduates may know how to get in touch with those graduates They have been there, done that. They are terrific role models Many CBOs who have worked in your school and community may be staying in touch with recent alumni to support them Many colleges and universities have very strong alumni clubs. Talk to them about advice for developing strong alumni connections In your school In your network, on Facebook Note of Appreciation Thanks to the following people for helping develop this toolkit: Billy Evans (Chicago Academy, Coach), Gretchen Tirado (Chicago Academy, Counselor), Francisco Rios (Kelvyn Park, Coach) 4

5 What does it mean at every grade level? Grade 9 mentor, help students navigate the high school selection process and more Grade 10 mentor Grade 11 Students should reach out to alumni for help in learning about what certain colleges or careers are really like or for help in navigating a challenging junior year mentor Grade 12 Students should reach out to alumni for help in learning about what certain colleges or careers are really like Counselors ask students for help in connecting with recent graduates for events Spring: High school reminds students about they value of the school and encourages students to remain in touch after graduating Note: Many grade level activities are cumulative 5

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