NECC Delivers College Success Seminar to Local High Schools
A Northern Essex course designed to help students succeed in college is being offered to local students while they are still in high school.
The college began offering its College Success Seminar at local high schools in the fall of 2011, and since then 453 high school students from across the Merrimack Valley have enrolled in the three-credit course, earning high school and college credits.
“Over 80 percent of our graduates are heading to college after graduation,” says Juan Rodriguez, assistant headmaster/personnel and school culture, Lawrence High School, which began offering the College Success Seminar last fall. “College is a big investment for them, and we want to give them the tools they need to succeed.”
Taught by Northern Essex faculty, both in the high schools and to high school students who come to the college’s campus, the College Success Seminar is designed to help students develop their academic skills and understand the behavioral expectations of college life.
Each school system covers the cost of the course differently; funding sources include school budgets, family contributions, and grants.
Shannon Leate-Varney, an attorney who first started teaching in the college’s Paralegal Studies Program, has been teaching the College Success Seminar at local high schools since 2013. “My high school students can’t wait to get to college, and they look at this course as the ticket to being successful in college,” she says. “It’s thrilling to see their excitement.”
In addition to teaching writing, reading, and oral presentation skills, Leate-Varney covers time management, organization, reading strategies, test-taking strategies, and note taking.
As the word spreads, more and more high schools are partnering with the college to offer this course, and this fall three new high schools joined the 10 that were already on board
Thirteen Area High Schools Now Offer NECC’s College Success Seminar
• Amesbury High School
• Haverhill High School
• High School Learning Center, Lawrence
• Lawrence High School
• *Methuen High School
• Newburyport High School
• Notre Dame Cristo Rey, Lawrence
• Pentucket Regional High School, West Newbury
• Phoenix Academy, Lawrence
• Sanborn Regional High School, Kingston, NH
• *Timberlane Regional High School, Plaistow, NH
• Triton Regional High School, Byfield
• *Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School, Haverhill
*New partnerships as of fall 2014
Bringing the College Success Seminar to local high schools is just one way Northern Essex is partnering with high schools to prepare students for college. High school students are currently enrolled in a wide range of courses and programs at the college from individual courses to Early College Programs, which gives them the opportunity to earn at least 24 college credits while still in high school.
According to a recent study by the American Institutes for Research, students who earn college credits while in high school are more likely than their peers to graduate, enroll in college, and earn an associate degree.
“Our partnerships with Northern Essex are helping our students to thrive,” says Rodriguez. “We’ve grown everything we’ve done with Northern Essex, and we’re talking about new initiatives.”