College and career readiness services - Steps to the Future

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Third semester and moving forward

One of the best parts of being an independent educational consultant is following the college careers of my students. Students accessing college is great, but I’m always concerned about the retention and graduation rates reported. A recent report by the Education Trust, Rising Tide: Do College Grad Rate Gains Benefit All Students? highlights continuing areas of concern.

Christmas break provided an opportunity to speak with two of my students, now in their third semester at their respective colleges, Hampton University in Virginia and Campbell University in North Carolina. Over a meal at the cozy Pierro’s Restaurant on the northern side of Fayetteville, Ashanti Wright and Joshua Brown shared their perspectives on college life after the third semester.


Ashanti, an honors student at Hampton University, aspires to be a nurse and acknowledges the increased academic challenges as she proceeds through her Pre-Professional Nursing program.  She commented that the Introduction to the Nursing Profession course, a requirement for third semester students, increased her connection with her chosen career and with other students in the program. A new dress code for Pre-Professional Nursing students at her college requires students to wear scrubs for all classes, which is an added expense that students may not consider when choosing a major. O*NET, an online occupation resource sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, projects a bright future in the field of nursing. 

Joshua, who attends Campbell University in Buies Creek, NC, changed his major from Pharmacy to Athletic Training in the Department of Exercise Science because he feels this pathway combines two items important to him: helping people and his love of sports. The National Center for Educational Statistics reports the average college student changes his or her major 3 times, while overall, 80% of students change their major at least once.

Both students reflected on the maturation process over their three semesters in college. Increasing their time management skills, expanding their social network and coping with the changing landscape of friends, old and new are common experiences each student shared.

Changing to Athletic Training gave Josh the opportunity to experience something new; he took his first airplane ride while accompanying the football team on an away game. Josh expressed his contentment at finding a career pathway that suits his personality, values and one which also has a bright outlook according to O*NET . 

When asked, “What advice would you give to high school students?” both agreed on the importance of students researching colleges early and to have alternatives. One student expressed the need to be financially aware of the cost of attendance for four years, focusing more on a financial and academic fit, rather than getting your heart set on one particular school.

I am looking forward to staying in touch with Ashanti and Joshua as they move forward in their education and their careers. Their futures are shining bright.


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