Senior Success Days
In March and April we partnered with Michigan State University, Oakland University, and Wayne State University for Senior Success Days. Senior Success Days were for students who were accepted to those partner universities. The purpose of the event was to support students with completing the critical college-going steps that can contribute to summer melt. Summer melt is when a student is college-intending and fails to transition successfully to college the fall after high school graduation. College-intending students have completed key college-going steps, such as being accepted to college, applying for financial aid, and have signaled their intention to enroll in college.
We caught up with University Prep Science and Math, alumni relations coordinator, Ashley Lane, to discuss the lessons she learned during the event.
DCAN: What is your overall feedback of the entire event?
AL: Overall, I thought the event was a huge success! I was excited when I got the invitation to Senior Success Days because I know how much that extra check point is needed for students. After getting their acceptance letters most students celebrate the acceptance (rightfully so) but don't know how to carry out the next steps to ensure a smooth transition in the fall. This event made them think about enrollment deposits, housing and meal plans, and most importantly, financial aid. These are things they may not have thought about until after graduation when they do not have school support to help them navigate these next steps.
I think these events are amazing and I hope to see them for more universities in the future. I think the benefits of an event like Senior Success Days will cut down on summer melt and give students that final push they may have needed to commit to a school. My students walked away from both events feeling more important, more in touch with the school, and more confident in their college decision.
DCAN: What feedback did you receive from the students?
AL: The feedback I received from my students is everyone thought the event was helpful in some way. Most of them found the information about financial aid to be the most helpful. Finding out how to check if they had an award letter available was a positive. For students that did not have an award letter, finding out how to navigate the site to see if they were selected for verification or needed to turn in additional documents was helpful. After getting back to our school, I got several requests to print verification documents.
Another thing students talked about after the Oakland University (OU) event was they were able to activate their OU email and register for student orientation at the event. They walked away knowing that part was taken care of and I think it made the whole process seem more real to them.
My students also enjoyed meeting students from other schools that were interested in attending their school of choice. It made them feel they would know people when they arrive on campus in the fall.
I got good feedback about the resource fairs at both events. The students liked the tables set up for different majors and departments. They had the freedom to visit any table that sparked their interests and get more information, business cards, and learn about scholarship opportunities within their desired major.
DCAN: What was the most exciting part of the day?
AL: Students enjoyed the campus tours more than anything. For students who hadn't already been to campus, they were able to walk around and see the place they would soon call home. Students who had been to campus before said that it was a different experience now knowing they would be attending there. They took the tour more seriously than on previous visits and talked about how they could envision themselves living in the dorms and utilizing the student center and bookstore.
The scavenger hunt at Wayne State University (WSU) Senior Success Day was the most exciting part of the day. The students teamed up and went through a scavenger hunt that led them to different resource centers on campus. They enjoyed the challenge that it presented and the friendly competition. They liked to be treated as young adults, as there was no WSU representative or chaperone assigned to attend the hunt with them. They came back feeling great about the fact they were able to make it around campus and back all by themselves.
At the Oakland University event, my students loved the mascot and took photos with a photo backdrop. The step show was a hit! We have a step team at our high school, so they really enjoyed seeing the stepping taking place on the collegiate level.
Raffles and Give-a-ways! The students love to walk away with something tangible. At both events they got book bags and there were some cool items being raffled off. Having a nice hat or t-shirt or water bottle makes them feel like they are already apart of the campus and they love to represent!
DCAN: Would you recommend this event to students and schools?
AL: Yes, I would recommend this event to students and schools because it makes students think about the next steps sooner. For some students, it may be the first time they realize the work is not done after being admitted. Students met friendly faces of departments they will utilize as a student on campus and get contact information they can use. I think one of the most beneficial part of these kinds of events is for them to see other students, both inside and outside of their school, have the same questions and uncertainties as them and it's okay!