Free College Applications — and College Knowledge
By Kris Hoffman, Licensed School Counselor, High School
Greetings Hutchinson families! This is officially the first time that I’m being published! While this is personally exciting, it is also very humbling to try and find a way to help prepare our youth for their next step in life. This is my second year at Hutchinson High School, and my 7th year as a school counselor overall, and every day that I come to work with students, I am reminded of a quote by Benjamin Franklin- “I didn’t fail, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong.”
In thinking about this quote, I think more about the experience of failure and how it prepares us for success; because, to me, the dread of failure isn’t what this quote is about. Each and every day, every person makes hundreds of decisions from meals to questions from family and friends, or even work decisions. Our kids are no different. Every day I see them walk through our doors with varying levels of excitement and I see the hope and desire for something new and different, or a hope to find something familiar and uncomplicated; but no matter what, there is always that hope to find a way to succeed. And on that journey, every kid must find dozens and dozens of ways that they won’t be able to succeed. Success is usually not built from one tangible decision or one moment in time, it is the sum of our experiences that lead us to that next step in life.
For our seniors, there is an opportunity I’m excited about. October is College Knowledge Month, put on by the MN Department of Education. During October we highlight preparing seniors for life after high school. Here at HHS, we’ve already covered a lot of topics regarding different applications, parent workshops, and even working on resumes. But, the thing I’m most excited about is Oct. 28- Nov 1st. Most Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (37 of them!) are letting students submit FREE applications to each one of those schools during this week. So, instead of $20-$50 per school application fee, each student is saving more than a few bucks just on application fees alone. There are a few schools that do still charge in the state of MN, but a majority of them have committed to help our students prepare for life after High School.
College Knowledge Month is not just about attending a 4-year university, and I am very thankful for that. Did you know that only roughly 30% of future jobs will require a bachelor’s degree or higher? Yet, as a society, that is the gold standard of what we want our children to get. We, at HHS, encourage students to meet with the military, technical or trade schools, internships, and experiential opportunities that could help a High School graduate start at $70K+ job at the age of 19. We use it to highlight all of the ways that they can succeed, because they’ve worked so hard in finding, through millions and millions of decisions, ways to move forward the way they want to. In life, we all fail, and we all get things wrong. But, at the end of the day, we move forward and we use those failures to help us find the right way to succeed.