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College and Career Readiness

College Readiness at IDEAS Academy means admission to college and success while in college. We strive for 100% of our graduates being accepted to the 4-year university, 2-year college, arts or design school, technical college or other post-secondary program of their choice. Our graduates are qualified to move forward in their educations because of their experiences and preparation.

Key to our program are college tours. During grades 8 through 12, students visit at least seven college campuses. They compare large and small schools, public and private, and arts-based and career-focused environments for learning. Touring campuses and talking with student guides gives them a sense of college life. They see dorms, enter classrooms, eat lunch in unions or towns, and learn about the admissions process and scholarships for each school. Representatives from additional colleges and AmeriCorps also visit IDEAS, and students attend the Wisconsin Education Fair. The range of options helps students find a good fit for their learning styles and future plans. Another lens into college life is our annual Alumni Day. For an hour or so in January, our seniors sit down with past graduates to talk about the transition from high school to college and beyond. Candid questions, connections and anecdotes lead to lively discussion. The seniors come away believing college might not be so scary after all.

College Readiness also means personal planning and professional writing. Students speculate about a future lifestyle and career choice beginning in middle school. This vision evolves over time and students ask: What steps do I need to take to reach these goals? In high school they develop a résumé and personal statement from early drafts to polished documents to use for first job interviews and college and scholarship applications. Advisors serve as coaches during this process. Students also attend “Institutes” with the College Readiness Coordinator. These meetings address specific needs of each grade level, such as college tour preparation for freshmen and FAFSA and scholarship applications for seniors.

Attention to Habits of Professionalism and Habits of Mind proves to prepare our students well for college. Feedback from universities indicates our students enroll already equipped with collaboration skills, confidence, creative and critical thinking skills and the work ethic they need to succeed.

Our College Readiness Program exists because we want our students to be able to make good decisions about their futures.