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Preparing for College


Mo Cuevas, Ph.D., LCSW

Our Lady of the Lake University


Cuevas, M. (2016). Preparing for college. Our Lady of the Lake University.


The purpose of this assignment is two-fold. First, it will help students to integrate some of the information they have gained in their First Year Experience course and will help them to examine the different resources and skills needed for college readiness and success. Second, it will be available as a resource to the audiences addressed, and shared with them.

Students are assigned to a small group to work on this presentation. The project is for each group to develop a power point presentation or video that tells the audience what would have helped the members to prepare for college at any institution of higher education. Projects are targeted to either graduating high school seniors, parents of incoming first year students or high school teachers.

Background and Context

This assignment was developed for a first-year seminar course where students of different majors learn about study skills, campus resources and other techniques and skills that will help them be successful in college. The class can be of any size, but groups should be limited to 4 -5 students. It can be a class of first year course for common majors, a variety of non-majors or a seminar that is incorporated around any theme.

This assignment has several components that students benefit from. First it gives them a chance to reflect on the class, what they’ve learned and what was most helpful to them. Next it provides a resource they can refer to in the future when they have difficulties in school and need to remember what resources or activities might help them to overcome those difficulties. Finally the assignment is a resource for others, depending upon the audience they choose, to know what things would be helpful in preparing for college while still in high school.

Alignment and Scaffolding

The assignment is seen as the final project of the course, when all sorts of resources, skills and techniques have been addressed through out the semester. It asks students to reflect on these topics and identify which of them were most helpful for each of them and which do they think will add the most to the possibility of being successful in college.


This has to be one of the most fun assignments I’ve ever created. Students LOVE it, and it helps them to condense a whole semester worth of information into a 4 -5 minute video or power point that is easily accessible to others and for them when they need a reminder of what we learned in the first year seminar. They like it because it isn’t a paper, they get to be as creative as they want and they get to tell others their opinion while reviewing the different aspects of the semester long course. The most challenging thing about the assignment is that often students in the groups want different topics or skills to be highlighted and they have to negotiate with one another to decide what they will include in the final project.

It has been revised several times in terms of deciding to give them a variety of audiences to present for, so that they can be working on communication skills and the different ways to deliver information based on the audience for whom it is intended. It has also been revised to include the list of general topic areas to address so that students can be prompted to remember the different aspects of what has been covered in the course. Some of the videos have actually been presented to their intended audience, which helps them put more effort into their work and makes them feel quite proud when they know it has been shared.

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