History of the 8th Grade College and Career Readiness Symposium
Beacon of Hope began hosting the 8th Grade College Readiness Symposium in efforts to help middle school students better understand the importance of their education.
Goals of Beacon of Hope’s 8th Grade College Symposium:
- To help students become excited about post-secondary education – any classes completed after high school
- To enable students the opportunity of visiting a college campus and feel what it’s like to walk around, dine, learn, and enjoy
- To equip students with knowledge that will help them make good choices to and through graduation
This initiative, now in its 7th year, is designed to bring our students on one of our local college campuses each year, to understand why college or a technical education after high school is so important, and to be introduced to college admissions, residence life, and other ideas likely foreign to 8th graders. Lynchburg Beacon of Hope’s 8th Grade Symposiums have been an institution of the middle school college readiness plan for the past seven years. Each year every single Lynchburg City Schools 8th grader (some 600 students) visit one of our local college campuses for a full day. The goal of this event is to help all of our students to see themselves on a college campus—to experience different aspects of what college is like and to better understand that their journey to college and career doesn’t start their senior year, but begins in 8th grade. Students are divided into smaller groups (30-40 students each group) and rotate among academic buildings to explore five different aspects of the college and career process. They meet a panel of current college students who attend both CVCC and 4 year colleges from Heritage and EC Glass and can ask them questions about their experiences, they talk with NCAA coaches about life as a college student athlete, they hear from some of our CVCC and technical training experts about ‘fast-track’ programs and certification as a great next-step, they meet some admissions and financial aid representatives and learn about what colleges expect to see of them as they power through high school and beyond, and they have a meal in the dining hall. From all of this, Beacon of Hope and Lynchburg City Schools hope to light a spark for the future in many more of our young people.
Why Start this Conversation in 8th Grade?
Some LCS middle school classes count toward graduation requirements! These classes include earth science, foreign languages, and algebra. These classes will be on high school transcripts and affect student GPAs.
Choices made NOW affect your FUTURE
Beacon of Hope is here to help you understand your options and foster GOOD DECISIONS. For the hundreds of students Beacon of Hope works with each year at Heritage High School and EC Glass High School, many say, they wish they would have made better choices in their 8th & 9th grade years.
Why Continue Education After High School?
Maybe you’re not a fan of homework and tests at the moment. Maybe you’re the first in your family to go to college or you’re worried about the cost of tuition. If any of these ring true, you might be wondering, “Is college really worth it?” The answer is YES and here’s why:
College is the most valuable investment you can make in your future – both financially and personally.
Over the course of a lifetime, someone with a college degree, a technical certification, or military service degree will earn $1 million more than someone with a high school diploma. Simply put, higher education = greater financial stability. Money isn’t everything, but if you want to give yourself the best chance to earn a comfortable salary, to be healthier overall, and feel more confident, a college degree or technical certification is not optional; it’s essential.