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Senior students at Carver Area High School, Chicago, Illinois are very concerned about their future plans after graduation. As a guidance counselor, my project is part of a counseling strategy to assist twenty-five senior students to make wise choices by choosing the college or university that best fits their needs. How can students pick a college or university that is best suited for them? The obvious answer is that students must ask their own questions and find their own answers. Only then will the matches be a perfect fit!

Three full time counselors assist students in making college and career plans throughout their four years of high school. Traditionally freshmen students begin talking about college and career plans by keeping a vocational folder with their division or homeroom teacher during their four years of high school. Sophomore students take an interest inventory, and every year students attend an all day career institute seminar during their sophomore year sponsored by the Chicago Chamber of Commerce Youth Motivational Committee. Junior and senior students also attend a Carver High School College and Career Fair in October, and more than ninety Illinois and Midwestern colleges and universities are represented. In addition, all juniors and seniors participate in a field trip to the National College Fair at McCormick Place in downtown Chicago during the first week of November where numerous colleges and universities from all over the United States are represented. Last of all, college recruiters visit Carver Area High School regularly during the school year, and seniors meet with them in small groups to learn more about their specific college or university.

Thus, our senior students, like high school seniors everywhere, are bombarded with college fairs, college recruiters, college catalogs, college mailings, and advice from well-meaning friends and family members. Universities, armed with Madison Avenue's best advertising executives, package themselves with glossy brochures, beautiful college catalogs, and glowing images of their campuses. Students are often in a quandary; how can they pick the right college or university?

The goal of this project is to design a college search using a model of engaged learning that involves more student interaction, more connections between the student and the college or university, and more collaboration among the student, counselor, college students presently attending particular colleges, and college admissions representatives. By using technology available at Carver Area High School, the students will acquire the skills and knowledge to compete in a global economy, and they will be prepared for the next century, according to the goals set forth by the State of Illinois.

The state goals include the following: writing to communicate for a variety of purposes; using reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills to research and apply information for specific purposes; locating, acquiring, and organizing information from various sources to answer questions and solve problems; applying acquired information, concepts, and ideas; analyzing and evaluating information acquired from various sources. ( Illinois State Board of Education's Proposed Academic Standards: Goals 1,2,3,4,5 English Language Arts.) Moreover, students will not only learn the latest technology, but also they will personalize their interests and needs beyond the standard official college information found in college catalogs, fairs, and recruitment sessions. Their goal will be to correspond with college representatives and students on campus. It is my hope that all students will learn how to search for colleges on the web, learn to correspond via e-mail with college representives and students on campus, and get a personalized assessment of the school that best fits their interests and academic needs.


In a ten week unit high school seniors will explore the Internet and connect with admissions counselors at colleges and universities of their choice. First they will research schools, and secondly they will generate questions according to their needs. By the fifth week they will be able to e-mail the admissions counselors who will answer their questions by sending return e-mail responses. Also, the admissions counselors will introduce Carver students to students on campus, and Carver students will interact with college students by e-mail. Students will also find out more about a particular college by browsing on the college's web page. Each student will keep a portfolio of schools they are interested in by downloading information from the college web pages onto their individual floppy disks. The students will also keep a copy of the questions they ask and the answer they receive from their e-mail sources at various colleges. They will print a copy of their correspondence and keep a notebook of their e-mail questions and answers.

All students will be responsible for their own learning. Senior students will spend twenty-five minutes during their division period three times or more per week, depending on accessibility. They will come to the large counseling suite and begin their searches. IBM compatible computers are available in the open computer area of the counseling suite, and they are connected via a T1 line using DePaul University as the Internet provider. Two students at a time will operate the computer, and since the majority of students have completed Computer Workshop I by their senior year, they will be familiar with basic computer commands and the Internet.

During the first two weeks students will learn about the Internet and the World Wide Web. They will learn how to find information on the WWW, and they will collaborate and pool their sources using specific college World Wide Web sites. Energized by their learning, the students during week three will find links to individual college sites by using a variety of sources. During the fourth week the students will focus on finding more information about their particular schools; they will use a variety of search engines. Last of all, during weeks five through ten, the students will correspond via e-mail to their particular schools and to particular admissions counselors and students on campus.

The counselor will guide the students and encourage them to find information about colleges, links to college web sites, and finally e-mail addresses of college representatives. The counselor will give hints and clues in helping students find information and e-mail addresses, and the counselor will walk around the room encouraging students and helping them with their searches, while the students will investigate and collaborate.

As part of their final project, students will print out their portfolios of information about their final college selections and their unique e-mail correspondence. All students will have printed a minimum of three college choices from university home pages, as well as printed correspondence with three or more admissions representatives via e-mail. Also, students will have a floppy disk with the information they've found about three specific colleges from one of the college search sites, such as College Express, College Net, College Link, or College View. Daily progress will be discussed within the pairs and to the group as a whole. Students will be able to ask frank and personalized questions of the admissions representatives and college students; hopefully they will receive honest and informative answers in return. Ultimately, seniors will find the college that best fits their unique needs.

Created for the Fermilab LInC program sponsored by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Education Office, Friends of Fermilab, United States Department of Energy, Illinois State Board of Education, and North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium which is operated by North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL).
Author(s): Joan M. Nammari (palcomp@flash.net)
School: Carver Area High School, Chicago, IL
Created: October 18, 1997 - Updated: January 10, 1998
URL: /lincon/f97/projects/jnammari/scen.htm