Building Commitment Through all Academic and Co-Curricular Levels

Colleges and universities that make authentic commitments to engagement and access align their academic and student affairs programs with the college access imperative. Through individual courses, majors and minors, and leadership programs, access is integrated into the student experience. Connections to the local community, schools, youth, and organizations enhance the curriculum through civic learning and engagement.

This set of resources provides guidance from existing programs as well as academic courses that integrate intentional experiences of engagement with youth for the purpose of Making College Happen.

1. Designing High-Quality Service-Learning Courses Focused on Making College Happen

Service-learning incorporates community work into the curriculum, giving students real-world learning experiences that enhance their academic learning while providing a tangible benefit for the community. Faculty members may conceptualize their courses’ community work to meet the aim of promoting college access. As discussed in A Promising Connection, service-learning has been shown to support current college students’ personal and academic development. Furthermore, the partnerships through which service-learning courses are grounded provide fertile ground for mentoring activities that lend themselves to college access initiatives.

a. Guide to designing high-quality service-learning courses
Campus Compact has numerous resources in both print and online available to aid you in designing a service-learning course. Here are some factors to consider in the context of service-learning focused on college access:

  • Determine where your service-learning experiences take place. Examples of high-quality service-learning focused on access bring school students into college classrooms, college students into school classrooms, and engage college students and youth in out-of-school time programs. See below for specific course examples.
  • Engaging youth in service-learning projects with college students is another potential format for the community experience. When working with youth on service-learning projects, a set of standards of practice in K-12 service-learning might be established and kept in mind when creating your syllabus.
  • College students need to be prepared for their work with youth. Service-learning centers and their community partners often offer support in training and orienting students for their experience. Determine whether you will build these preparatory experiences into your class time, will expect students to complete these requirements outside class time, or a combination. Adjust your expectations for students as you design your syllabus to to achieve a balance between norms at your institution and the reality that student learning is enhanced when students rise to a challenge. Use resources developed for College Positive Volunteers in preparing your students.

b. Exemplary Programs

Making College Happen – University of Washington Dream Project

Making College Happen – Universi...

University of Washington’s Dream Project ties courses in the College of Education to its higher education access and engagement initiative.

Campus Compact Syllabi Archive includes myriad resources that can aid in creating syllabi for classes in all subjects with a special focus on civic engagement, community service, experiential learning, and incorporates reflection.

c. Further Reading
Barbara Jacoby (2014). Service-Learning Essentials: Questions, Answers, and Lessons Learned. Jossey Bass. ISBN: 978-1-118-62794-5

d. Links to Additional Resources
Service-Learning and Academic Success

Service-Learning and Retention

How Can Engaged Campuses Improve Student Success in College

2. Making College Happen through College Positive Volunteerism

College Positive Volunteerism provides training for college students (and their faculty and/or administrators) to volunteer with K-12 youth as a part of a course or service-learning program on their college campuses. College Positive Volunteers (CPVs) intentionally act as ambassadors of higher education when serving with youth, exposing them to college options and resources and materials to be successful in the college exploration and application process.

a. Guide to training College Positive Volunteers
The Campus Compact College Positive Volunteerism curriculum includes a toolkit that prepares volunteers working with various age groups (elementary youth, middle school youth, high school youth, parents, and adults returning to college). The toolkit includes the following elements:

  • Understanding All Students
  • Before Volunteering Checklist
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Using the Language of College Access
  • Knowing Talking Points about Your College
  • College Prep Checklists for each level
  • Activities for College Positive Volunteers and youth
  • Advice regarding paying for college

b. Exemplary Programs

Making College Happen – Central Michigan University MI Gear Up

Making College Happen – Central ...

Central Michigan University’s (CMU) GEAR UP program, started through a grant from Michigan Campus Compact, incorporates College Positive Volunteerism…

Making College Happen – University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Leduc Center for Civic Engagement

Making College Happen – Universi...

The College Positive Program at UMass Dartmouth is dedicated to helping local youth achieve the dream of a college education by assisting and advising…

c. Links to Additional Resources
College Positive Volunteer Toolkit

Know How 2 Go

National College Access Network Resources