College Readiness

Alumni visit IDEAS Academy to talk to current students about their college experience.

IDEAS strives to prepare our students not only for college entrance, but also for success within their chosen fields of study at university, college, technical school, and arts and design school. Students typically work with the same advisor all four years at IDEAS. This allows the advisor to know each student well and be able to assist him or her with planning for the future.

The process begins freshman year with early development of a portfolio of student work as evidence of learning, a résumé, references, community service, interest inventories, and MAPS testing. Such preparations as the College Readiness Test, the Greater Milwaukee College Fair, Wisconsin Covenant Pledges and Diversity Scholars may also be part of this stage of college prep. Most of all, students will see a broad range of possibilities for their futures.

Sophomore year continues with items started freshman year and adds the WKCE. Students will choose to take one or several of the following: the PLAN test, the PSAT, Career Connections, or the Accuplacer. Practice interviews will help students develop the confidence needed for college as well as jobs.

Juniors begin refining the portfolio or dividing it into an interest-based showcase portfolio and a school portfolio. They will register for and complete the ACT or SAT, and they will also attend college fairs and tours, including Experience LTC and the MIAD Senior Showcase. They will begin to acquire letters of recommendation, strengthen their résumés, and write letters of application and college and scholarship essays. Some will join the seniors for college prep meetings.

Senior year focuses on finalizing a career-focused showcase portfolio, refining the résumé, and completing college applications. Senior workshops assist them with scholarship applications, financial aid (including FAFSA), personal finances, and handling the transition into college life. Online events such as College Week Live also help students with understanding more about college. Through IDEAS exit interviews, seniors again review their skills and knowledge and rediscover how well-prepared they are for life after high school.

One of the advantages of our Advisory is the exchange of ideas that occurs within this close-knit group. Upperclassmen and women can assist lowerclassmen and women, and students can gain experiences when they are ready. Freshmen may be ready to tour colleges, for example, and seniors may still be in the early stages of their résumés. Working together with their advisors, all will come away from IDEAS confident about their futures.



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