24 July 2011
Many high school students, along with their families, take it for
granted that they will go to college. That was never the case with me.
Neither of my older siblings graduated from high school on time, and I
come from a very low income home. Even though I have been a good
student throughout my school career, I have known that it would be a
challenge to get accepted by a college and to receive financial aid. I
Student explains why
learned about the college application project from Mrs. Hanson and saw this project was chosen
it as an opportunity to improve my chances for both.
As part of my Culminating Project, I did over 300 hours of
volunteer work at the Martin Luther King Family Outreach Center
during the summer before my senior year. I referred to those product/performance
completed for the
experiences later in the essays I wrote as part of the process of applying project
to colleges and universities. My project involved not only performing
community service but also all of the steps involved in the college
Student lists and
My project answered the PODS essential question, “Where am I
explains how the
going?” While I always thought that I would be a teacher, my project project answers PODS
opened my eyes to other career options in counseling and social work.
My project also answered the question, “How am I going to get there?”
I referred to my volunteer experiences in my college applications, which
made them more competitive.
The first step of my project involved finding an organization that Step one: Find a place
would allow me to volunteer. Through Mrs. Farnsworth in Shadle’s
career center, I learned of a volunteer opportunity through the Martin
Luther King Family Outreach Center in Spokane. She had a brochure
that described the volunteer program, called the Teen Leadership
Program The program expected teens to work with young children,
participate in the Center’s community service projects, and attend career
building seminars during the summer. It was exactly what I was Parenthetical Citation
looking for (Teen).
During the second step, I did over 300 hours of volunteer work Step two: Work at the
at the Family Outreach Center during the summer. Monday through
Thursday I worked with preschoolers in a classroom. My
responsibilities included supervision during field trips and on the
playground; preparing meals and snacks; washing equipment and toys;
washing sheets; and reading to children. Fridays were spent attending
career seminars, touring college campuses, and preparing for the
Center’s community events by filling backpacks with school supplies
were raffled off to children in low income families.
The third step of my project involved searching for colleges to Step three: Researching
which I would apply. I visited the campuses of Whitworth, Gonzaga,
Eastern Washington (EWU) and Washington State (WSU). As a result
of the tours, I narrowed my choices to EWU and WSU. Using multiple
pages from EWU’s and WSU’s websites, I gathered and compared
information in two different categories: academic programs
(“Academics” Eastern) (“Academics” Washington) and the costs of
tuition, housing, and books (“Costs”) (“Financial Aid”)
(“Scholarships”). Although WSU had a higher sticker price, in reality it Parenthetical Citations
was the cheaper choice after financial aid and scholarships. WSU also
had a program that best fit my academic interests. I came to the
conclusion that WSU was the best choice for me.
During the fourth step of the project, I completed the steps Step four: college
necessary to apply to colleges. My mother completed the Free
Application for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA) ) form. I took the SAT
test in October and then filled out admission forms, wrote essays, and
gathered recommendations for the applications. I applied to both WSU
Overall, I was very happy that my goal of attending a four-year What went well:
accepted to four –year
university will became a reality. I was accepted by both Washington universities
State University (WSU) and Eastern Washington University (EWU ).
Among the most positive outcomes from my volunteer What went well:
experiences were the personal relationships and professional connections
connections that I developed with staff members at the Family
Outreach Center. I plan to pursue a degree in Human Development
from WSU which requires that I complete an internship. I was told that
I could request to do that at the Family Outreach Center. In addition,
coordinators at the Center said that they would be happy to supply
references for my resumes and applications.
Problem and how it
The biggest challenge I faced while working on the project was was solved: Working
dealing with difficult children at the Family Outreach Center. One little
boy displayed characteristics of autism. It was difficult to hold his
attention during any lesson. To deal with him, I referred back to
strategies I had learned through Teaching Academy about children with
autism. When we were learning letters I would give him plastic letters
to feel. This child fixated on vehicles, so I would use them when Parenthetical Citation
teaching reading and math (“Teaching” ).
There is nothing that I would change about the project itself.
However, if I were to do it again I would choose to take the fast-track
What student would
option, so that I could complete the project earlier in the school year. change next time:
would enroll in fast
During second semester of my senior year I took six classes (one was track
online) and worked as a TA in the library. It was really difficult to keep
up on the homework and projects for all of those classes. At the same
time I was applying to colleges and completing my Culminating Project,
which involved writing the I-Search paper and preparing to give my
presentation. Completing the project earlier would have saved me from
a lot of stress.
A skill I developed while working on this project was the ability
to thoroughly research a topic. I never spent a lot of time doing research
Student describes one
for projects in school because I was investing the effort in assignments, concrete skill that was
not something as important as what I would do with my future. For this
project, I researched the academic programs and costs (tuition, housing
and books) at both WSU and EWU. I analyzed and compared the
information and used my findings to choose a college. In addition to
researching online, I toured the college campuses and interviewed
CONCLUSION: APPLICATION OF SKILLS
As a result of my volunteer work I have changed my decision
on a field of study. I always thought that I would become a teacher, but
after being around children at the Family Outreach Center with difficult
family backgrounds, I learned that I am also interested in pursuing a
career in social work or counseling. I want to provide children with Student will apply
learning to post high
good home environments so they can be successful in school and in life. school plans: attend
WSU and pursue
At WSU, I intend to major in Human Development because, although I
degree in Human
do not completely know what my future career will be, I know that it Development
will be in the area of helping kids and families.
"Academics." Eastern Washington University. Web. Fall 2010. Source #1
This page lists all of Eastern Washington University’s academic
programs. It explains which prerequisite courses are necessary as
well as which courses must be taken to complete a program. I
am interested in teaching, counseling or social work. To do that
Explain usefulness of
at Eastern I’ll have to double major in education and social information
work. Depending on the size of the course load, I could minor
either in psychology or sociology. This program does not
provide an large amount of career opportunities following
graduation. It also takes longer to graduate from this program
than from WSU’s Human Development program (described in
the next annotation).
"Academics." Washington State University. Web. Fall 2010. Source #2
The “Academics” page on the WSU web site gave very detailed
information on each of its major and minor academic programs.
The programs were listed alphabetically as well as by college
within the university Information on programs included a
description of each program, related majors, and related career
possibilities. I am interested in teaching, counseling or social Explain usefulness of
work. At WSU there is a program in which I could earn a degree
in Human Development, while simultaneously earning a
teaching certificate in Early childhood Education and/or Family
and Consumer Sciences by taking a few extra classes through
the Education department. This program would prepare me to
work in various human services and educational settings,
allowing me to have the option of teaching without being
commited to it.
"Costs & Fees." Eastern Washington University. Web. Fall 2010. Source #3
This webpage lists costs such as tuition, housing and books.
Although this information was helpful, it did not also include
information such as financial aid and scholarships. I had to
continue searching EWU’s website until I found the “Financial
Aid and Scholarships” page. The average cost for attending
Explain usefulness of
EWU for 9 months (costs include tuition, housing, and books information
for 2011-12) total $15, 355. Costs at EWU are $5,000 less than
WSU. Nevertheless, WSU’s financial aid makes it more a more
affordable choice than EWU.
"Financial Aid and Scholarships." Eastern Washington University. Web. Source #4
Fall 2010. <http://www.ewu.edu/Admissions/Financial-
This page contained information regarding the financial aid and
scholarships available to EWU students. This page was helpful
because it listed the financial aid information that was missing
from Eastern’s “Costs and Fees” page. As a first-generation
college student, at EWU I would qualify for the Eastern
Advantage Scholarship, which would contribute $1,500 toward Explain usefulness of
paying for college. I can get better financial aid from WSU.
"Scholarships & Finances." Washington State University. Web. Fall
This page listed the cost of attendance as well as the scholarships
that are available. This webpage was very helpful because it
answered the financial questions that I had about the school and
unlike EWU, all of the info was in one place. The cost of
attending WSU for 9 months (including tuition, housing, and
books for 2011-12) is approximately $21,396. At WSU I would
qualify for the Cougar Commitment Program because of my low
income status. The Cougar Commitment would cover the Explain usefulness of
remainder of my tuition, after my financial aid has been applied
toward paying it off. This scholarship is renewable up to 4 years.
"Teaching Tips for Children and Adults with Autism : Autism Research
Institute." Autism Is Treatable : Autism Research Institute. Web.
09 July 2010. <http://www.autism.com/ind_teaching_tips.asp>. Source #6
This website provides information for people in all stages of life,
young children, teens and adults, on living with autism. It
stressed the importance of teaching children good manners, and
allowing only a limited amount of time to revert back to autistic
behavior. Visual, auditory and kinesthetic teaching strategies are
Explain usefulness of
presented, such as having students touch plastic letters as they information
learned them. The article also discussed using a child’s fixation
with an object to motivate schoolwork.
“Teen Leadership Program 2010” .Martin Luther King Family Outreach
Center. 2010. Spokane: United Way, 2010. Print.
This brochure provided a program overview and outlined the
expectations and classroom duties of applicants. I learned that
Explain usefulness of
applicants worked as teaching assistants with young children in information
the Center’s classrooms, on the playground and on field trips.
They also participated in the “Unity in the Community” event,
.attended seminars designed to develop work skills and toured
the campuses of area colleges. Volunteers who successfully
completed the summer program received a $200 scholarship to
the college of their choice. This program matched my career
goals and provided experiences that I could use in my college
applications and later on employment resumes.