Ki-Be GEAR UP seniors came back to school early to be part of a college boot camp aimed at preparing them for the upcoming college application process. The weeklong boot camp began on August 4, 2014 and went through August 8, 2014. Students sleepily dragged themselves into the classroom at 8:00am on Monday to begin the information and website exploration part of the boot camp.
Monday through Wednesday, students were taught various bits of information pertaining to the application process such as, courses needed to go straight to a university, GPA requirements, the difference between the SAT and ACT, and of course financial aid. Students even took a career assessment to either confirm or make them think more deeply about their career choices. Upon being fed information, students were then able to apply it to themselves personally as they did a scavenger hunt throughout the three days that involved looking for specific information pertaining to their college of choice. For example, while the minimum GPA to apply to Washington state universities as determined by the Higher Education Coordinating Board (HECB) may be a 2.0, students were able to see what the average GPA of students admitted to their chosen school was. To break up the monotony of sitting in a classroom for 4 hours, we also had the students participate in ice breakers and physical activities.
After these three days of instruction and exploration in the classroom, students were able to attend an overnight college visit to the Seattle, Tacoma, and Portland areas. On Thursday, students, some still in pajamas, loaded the bus at 7:00am to embark on the journey West. The action-packed day involved visiting University of Washington at Bothell, University of Washington at Seattle, and Seattle University. The favorite college of the day, across the board, was Seattle University, which many students admit they did not know existed or were not thinking about. After the college visits, students had time to explore Pike Place Market and enjoy dinner at Red Robin. We finally check into our hotel in Tukwila around 7:30pm and the students had no issue with lights out at 10:30pm because after our long day of walking and exploring they were exhausted!
Friday, after grabbing breakfast at the hotel, we visited Pacific Lutheran University, Washington State University at Vancouver and University of Portland. The most surprising campus of the day was Washington State University at Vancouver. The campus was small in terms of how many building are on campus, but large spatially as it is about the same size as the main campus and offered some amazing views. After our whirlwind tour of 6 colleges in 2 days, everyone deserved and most indulged in a shake at Big Jim’s in The Dalles on the way home. We arrived back at Ki-Be at 9:30pm with very enlightened seniors. Our small but mighty group of students all agreed they thought others would also enjoy this GEAR UP trip because it was informative, interesting, and they learned a lot about the colleges as well as themselves.