English Teacher and WKU English Teacher Present How to College Program

With a mini-grant from WKU’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiative, English professor Dr. Trini Stickle and graduate student and English professor Jessica Link hosted an introduction to five weeks in college at Franklin Simpson High School. The program, How to College, targets the second year of high school and aims to lift the veil of ambiguity surrounding college preparation. Students learned what they need to do to prepare for college in order to succeed, with a focus on WKU.

High school students learned about financial aid, applying to college, finding colleges and programs, and other aspects of college readiness. Dr. Stickle and Link asked students to reference the book How to go to college by Andrea Malkin Brenner and Lara Hope Schwartz, which is a comprehensive guide to transitioning from high school to college. Dr. Stickle gave her perspective as a professor and Link shared her experiences as an undergraduate and graduate student.

“I wanted them to feel confident to come up with a plan to make sure they were ready to get into the college they wanted and had information on how to be more successful as a student,” said said Dr. Stickle. “I think from their conversations and their questions, they’re going in that direction to have that confidence.”

The students talked about their biggest takeaways from How to College so far. One student mentioned the need to research all aspects of school and get involved. Another fact of starting early was a crucial thing to remember. A future first-generation student said: “My biggest lesson was how to deal with the stress and anxiety of college, especially if you don’t have any family members who have been there… My parents don’t want not that I have to work as hard as they did.

Many students were as excited for college as they were nervous. “I’m excited to start fresh, especially since we’re a small town with the same people we’ve grown up with all our lives; I’m excited to come out and change that,” said one student.

The final How to College session will take place next week, with plans for pizza and a more in-depth discussion of organizing mentorship, which is an invaluable resource for prospective students.

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