College supports help increase the likelihood of a successful transition from high school to college coursework. Many students begin with “College 101” courses that arm students with the skills and knowledge they will need to succeed in college. These courses are aimed at helping students adjust to college life. They cover topics such as:
- How to manage time and tasks
- Tips on studying and test taking
- Stress management skills
These courses may be offered by the high school, or the topics may be covered as part of existing college-credit courses.
P-TECH schools also may offer high school seminars that students take in conjunction with specific college courses. The seminars act as support for these college courses, providing students with practice in developing pertinent discussion skills, vocabulary, and study habits.
During these seminars, students also collaborate to develop strategies for understanding assignments, solving homework problems, and taking assessments. Professors and teachers should be in communication about student performance and needs as part of this seminar.
Location, location, location
Supporting high school students in college courses means being deliberate about where college courses take place and who teaches them.
P-TECH school students should take their first college-level courses in the high school setting with their high school cohort. This more structured approach reduces potential issues regarding travel or integration with older students. It also offers greater opportunities for student academic and social-emotional support in the early years of a student’s experience. This means that college faculty must travel to the high school to teach the courses. To accommodate the college work, the P-TECH school also needs to ensure that any necessary equipment and technology is in place at the school.
All faculty who teach a college-credit-bearing course must have the appropriate credentials, as specified by the college, and must have the preparation necessary to teach high school students. In some cases, a high school teacher may have the appropriate background and may receive approval from the college to teach college credit courses. Additionally, some courses may be co-taught by college and high school faculty. Typically, however, the college hires an adjunct to teach the course.
It is important to note that P-TECH students, who have worked hard to earn early entry into a college class, often are motivated by having a college professor come to their high school to teach their class. Students may feel like they are in a “real” college class when it’s taught by a college professor, rather than by a teacher who also teaches their high school classes.
Early College Liaison
The Early College Liaison serves as the intermediary between the community college and the P-TECH school.
This individual is responsible for registering students for their college courses, tracking student performance, and managing budgets, as appropriate, for college coursework, books, and supplies. Following student performance is done with the active support of the school.
The Early College Liaison is also responsible for convening high school and college faculty on a regular basis to examine student work and performance, shared pedagogical approaches, and interventions and supports for students.