Preparing for post high school education can sometimes raise a lot of questions, especially when attending college for the first time. With plenty of time to plan ahead, South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC) will introduce prospective students to academic programs, transfer options and on campus activities through their Building Foundations Virtual Open House Week from February 23-26.
For the health of all participants, all information sessions and campus tours will be conducted in an online setting, with each session scheduled with daytime school and work schedules in mind. Aimed at high school sophomores, juniors and seniors, Building Foundations Week provides the opportunity for prospective SPSCC students to learn more about pathways of study, student groups, dual credit options, financial aid and placement options for fall quarter 2021 and beyond.
“We want to be available to students and their families,” says Anne Molenda, director of K12 partnerships and recruitment at SPSCC. “We want to answer the questions that they have and to know that now’s the time to start planning. But you don’t have to be set in stone in anything quite yet. Be open to exploration and to learning about what your options are. That way when it does come time to make the decision, you’ve got all the information that you need for it.”
To help students navigate the sessions that are available, Molenda says the college has prepared a comprehensive schedule on the SPSCC website, including links to RSVP for each meeting. With almost two dozen sessions available throughout the week, students can choose the topics most relevant to their interests and inquiries, with opportunities to view additional recorded sessions at a later date.
“Instead of being at an in-person session where you get all the information that people are going to give to you,” explains Molenda, “we think that the virtual format is really exciting because you really can tailor it to you and what information you want. We are also going to record as many of the sessions as we can. So, if someone misses one or there’s internet issues or if life happens, they’ll be able to come back to that page and view the sessions.”
Throughout the week, there will be a diverse range of sessions, from general admission information, to an overview of specific programs. Prospective students will have the opportunity to become more familiar with SPSCC’s multiple campuses and class formats through a set of virtual tours.
Graduating seniors can also learn more about the application process, or financial aid options, including steps to filling out a FAFSA or WASFA. Building Foundations Week will also feature the insights and perspectives from current students through question-and-answer sessions.
“We have several different student panels where current students can talk to future students about what it has been like being in this virtual environment as a college student,” says Molenda. “What were some of the pitfalls that they had to work through, those barriers and lessons learned? And just to talk about what that means to be in college.”
If high school students are interested in dual enrollment programs, like Running Start, there will also be information sessions available throughout the week. For incoming students curious about their class level in subjects like English or math, they can attend sessions that explain college placement at SPSCC, including the use of testing, prior coursework and guided self-placement. There will also be opportunities to learn more about international transfer programs to earn a bachelor’s degree and diversity initiatives on campus, including the A. Barbara Clarkson Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Center, the Black Scholars Program and the IGNITE Program.
Geared toward high school students and their families, Building Foundations Week was created with daytime school and work schedules in mind. A majority of the sessions will take place in the late afternoon or early evening to prevent conflicts with high school coursework.
“We’re trying to accommodate for working families, so that parents and guardians can also be a part of this,” says Molenda. “We don’t want it to just be the student, we want the whole family to be able to get the information that they need. And to not conflict with work in the daytime or conflict with their high school classes, these are all geared toward the evening, so that families can attend.”
Through these virtual meetings, Molenda hopes that staff, students and faculty can connect with prospective students, and that prospective students will use these sessions to start thinking about their academic futures, with the hope that they are fully equipped to begin classes fall quarter.
“It’s about how can we connect with you,” says Molenda. “What questions do you have? We’ve fully realized that nobody really knows yet what high school or college is going to look like next year. We’re hoping that we’ll be back to campus, but if not, what does that mean? So, we’re trying to help families think now about what’s coming up next fall.”
The SPSCC Building Foundations Virtual Open House Week will take place from February 23-26. Sessions will be listed online and each session links to RSVP information. To learn more about the Building Foundations Week, visit the South Puget Sound Community College website.