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College-preparation website targets students, parents

By Joe Holloway jholloway@marshallnewsmessenger.com
Oct. 2, 2012 at 10 p.m.


The Texas Education Agency launched a new website Monday aimed at helping the state's students, parents and educators as they prepare for students to graduate high school.

The website, texascollegeandcareer.org, provides information on college options, academic and financial preparation for college, college admissions processes and career research.

"Basically, it's a statewide online resource that helps students prepare for college, applications and all, and also see what college or career interests they might have, to help them narrow that focus," said TEA spokesperson DeAtta Culbertson. "It also helps with scholarships, financial aid and grant-type applications."

Ms. Culbertson said that, while the site should be helpful for any student in grades 6-12, it could prove especially helpful for students who don't have a background in going to college.

"They may be the first in their family and have parents who have never really had to navigate this type of thing before," she said. "So it helps those students will all of the intricacies of applying for college."

Marshall High School senior counselor Suzan Harrison said she looked at the recently launched site and came away impressed.

"I think it's going to be absolutely wonderful for our parents and even on into middle school and junior high," she said. "It's going to give you so much information on how to get started planning for college."

Ms. Culbertson said the website was part of the State's attempt to get more students to continue their education after graduating from high school.

"One of the things we've been working on is getting more students into pursuing either a 2-year or 4-year degree after high school," she said. "Texas has a drive to get students to go to some sort of post-high school, post-graduation training or education, either a 2-year, a technical or a 4-year college. We've been working on doing things like promoting colleges, getting kids ready.

"This is just the next step."

The website started as a charter program at a few schools in 2010-2011 school year and then received funding from the Texas Legislature in 2011 to bring the free service to middle and high school students across the state.

Ms. Culbertson added that the website isn't just for students wanting to attend college.

"This is something that will work really well for students to prepare all those documents and the application processes, not just for college or technical schools, but also if you want to go on to work in some type of field," she said. "It can help you build a resume even."

Ms. Harrison said she hasn't had much of a chance to interact with the website in the two days since it went live, but that it looked like it was going to be a great resource and that she was looking forward to a series of upcoming webinars for educators on how to fully interact with the website.

"We're excited about it," she said. "In fact, we're getting ready to create some little information pamphlets to go home with all the upcoming report cards for grades 9-12."

Overall, Ms. Culbertson said she hoped the website will be helpful to everyone.

"It's a good thing," she said. "We hope this is a good tool for the schools, the districts and the families."

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