CR events help students think about the future

Students of Caesar Rodney High School after experiencing the Dorm educational bus. (Special to the Delaware State News/Torie Seagraves)

CAMDEN — As the school year gets underway, many seniors begin to make plans for what comes after graduation.

In an effort to prepare 12th graders for life after high school, the administration at Caesar Rodney High School is planning a number of events such as the touring the Dorm Bus, FASFA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) night and Common Application sessions.

The Dorm Bus is a gutted school bus filled with donated furniture from Delaware State University made to replicate an actual dorm and how much space is typically given to students on an average college campus.

Students had an opportunity to board the bus and experience life in a typical college dormitory. Sienna Morris, a senior at Caesar Rodney, said, “I realize how small it is and how like, before I thought I could bring all this stuff that I have and now I can’t do that so that’s kind of interesting.”

The bus was created to provoke “conversations along the lines of ‘Do you understand the social norms that are going to happen on that campus? Are you emotionally ready to move away from home and share some space with a stranger, and budget for yourself,’” said Dr. Sherry Kijowski, who has been principal of Caesar Rodney High School for five years.

Choosing a college is not easy, but Devaughn Collins said he has his eye on the University of Texas San Antonio. “I want something that’s like somewhere I have never been before but their program for biomedical engineering is pretty cool.”

Dr. Kijowski said she hopes that for future college prospects, the application process can become a topic of discussion no matter their age to encourage effective career planning.

A view upon entering the Dorm Bus with a typical dorm bed and desk in sight. (Special to the Delaware State News/Torie Seagraves)

“Our intent is to make the bus available for all of the schools in the district from K to 12 (grades). I think you need to start having those conversations early on about what do you want to do when you get older.”

In addition to the bus visiting the high school in mid-November, the school hosted volunteers and financial advisers from organizations such as Stand By Me, who came to the campus for a night of one-on-one help with applying for financial aid through FASFA.

The incorporation of key aspects of planning for the future into the discussions with students is the main goal of Caesar Rodney as not only more students look to attend college but also in choosing to join the military or a trade. According to Dr. Kijowski, identifying what is a student’s priority and what works for them is the first step to success beyond high school.

“We kind of used a lot of different websites to kind of talk about tips and strategies that they (students) need to think about like logistics — and looking for the open doors in that residence hall because they are the people you know that are going to be a friendly face, who you can go have conversations with,” said Dr.Kijowski, pointing to the many posters decorating the Dorm Bus, where information highlighted college-related statistics and facts on transition to college and campus life.

Student Victor Mcmillian testing out the confined living quarters. (Special to the Delaware State News/Torie Seagraves.

Many schools in Delaware hosted events in conjunction with the state’s recognition of College Application Month from October to November.

The use of technology has drastically improved the way a student is able to choose a college.

“The Common App is really basic and that’s what all the colleges I am applying to use,” Sienna said.

The single application not only shortens and simplifies the process of applying to multiple schools at once but also waives fees of many applications during this week known as College Application Week, saving students hundreds of dollars as one application from the University of Delaware alone is currently $75.

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