College tours can have a dramatic effect on Highpoint School students as they prepare for life after high school. They can encourage students to set goals, take more rigorous classes, improve grades, and participate in programs that may increase their chances of admission to the college, university, or technical degree program of their choice.
Under a new effort by Principal Courtney Waters, Highpoint juniors and seniors are visiting local colleges and universities this semester to gain insight and exposure to post-secondary opportunities.
“We want to make sure that our students still have the same opportunities their peers have at their home campuses,” Waters said. “For some of our students, these tours are the first time they are visiting a college campus.”
Last week, 19 students toured the University of Houston-Downtown, where they learned about the application and enrollment process. Students also received information about financial aid and UHD’s Career Development Center, which offers enrolled students coaching and guidance to find a job after graduation or prepare for graduate school.
“A lot of our kids tend to think that they can’t afford college,” Waters said. “It’s not really on the forefront of their planning for their future. With the information they have received, I’m hoping they will see the benefits of programs out there that are willing to support their dreams so that they don’t have to put their dreams to the side because of a financial burden.”
At the end of February, students also visited the Lone Star College-North Harris campus. Stops along the tour included the college’s science and industrial education buildings and the digital technology and construction and skilled trades technology centers. They also had the opportunity to visit the college bookstore, student center, and library.
As part of Waters’ efforts to connect students to potential career pathways, students are also afforded opportunities to learn about technical careers. Representatives from Tulsa Welding School recently visited the Highpoint campus to share information about the demand for skilled tradespeople in the welding and pipefitting industry.
Highpoint serves adjudicated or expelled youth from across Harris County who come from their home schools to address behavior issues. Classes are small, and students work to catch up on their academics and behavioral problems. Students typically return to their home schools.
Highpoint will next visit Texas Southern University on April 12.