Aurora Public Schools believes in giving its students as many opportunities as possible to gain a head start on college and postsecondary workforce readiness development. The district's strategic plan, APS 2020: Shaping the Future, was designed in part to help students achieve their goals quicker and with a clearer sense of purpose. One of APS 2020's goals is for every student to have a plan for his or her future. In support of this goal, students from Murphy Creek P-8 recently visited the University of Colorado Denver to get a taste of college life and speak with UCD's young adults about their experiences.
Eighth grader Chantel Williams was blown away by the visit and talked about how the trip to UCD has affected her views on what higher education is all about:
Talk to us about your recent experience at UCD. What was the best part?
"I liked visiting the campus, seeing what I need to do to in college and what my choices are. I liked seeing where students live [dormitories] and see how much money is put forth for that. I wanted to take part in this to see how it all works."
What were some of your takeaways and "ah-ha" moments?
"I didn't know the cost of college or how the classes worked throughout the day. There were college students that came in and talked about their classes. I was surprised because I thought there was just one job you could have after college, but there are multiple jobs surrounding your major."
Did your perceptions about college change after the visit? If so, how?
"I thought college was just preparation for a job, but it's actually preparation for life. It's about learning how to take care of yourself. It was good to see that there are multiple options you can choose based on how you want to live your life. Oh, and the dorm rooms are a little bit smaller than what I thought!"
Why is planning for your future so important?
"If you plan, you'll have something to rely on. If something sets you back, you'll have an idea of what you can do to help you get back on your feet. If you don't plan, you can have a lot of problems."
What is your plan?
"I want to be an interior designer. But there are also multiple jobs in architecture that i can try out, too. I know that I need to have a plan and stay focused on what I need to do. There are skills I want to develop, like knowing which paint color goes well with different types of rooms. There are a lot of things to learn."
How will you use what you learned from this trip as you prepare to start high school?
"I'm more educated now on what I need to do going into high school. This experience will help me plan better for what I want to do in the future."