Red, yellow and orange leaves combined with crisp fall air mean it's time for more than just unpacking sweaters and carving pumpkins. For many of our students, October is also a time to think about the future, to consider their next steps, and to start planning in a meaningful way.
October 14-18 marks West Virginia's fourth annual "College Application and Exploration Week" -- a statewide effort to help students of all ages explore their options for education and training beyond high school and submit college applications. Last year nearly 4,500 high school seniors across the state submitted college applications during this week. It was a remarkable achievement, one that we hope to build upon this year.
When students understand their ambitions, talents, and preferences, they make more informed choices toward pursuing the programs best suited to their needs. That's why more than 150 elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as adult learning sites across West Virginia will host College Application and Exploration Week events.
Students will learn about the many opportunities West Virginia's colleges and universities offer. School staff members and volunteers will be on hand to assist high school seniors complete and submit college applications. Helping complete this seemingly small step can make a world of difference in ensuring our students reach their educational goals.
While this week is partly focused on applying to college, it also is geared toward getting our youngest students thinking about college. Of the more than 150 schools participating, nearly 50 are elementary and middle schools. Students as young as five years old will participate in activities ranging from wearing their favorite college/university colors to college bingo and matching mascots.
By supporting West Virginians of all ages in achieving their educational goals, we're helping ensure a brighter future for our state. As we continue to focus our efforts on advancing the skill sets of our workforce and competing in today's global economy, it is important we help our youngest students, high school seniors, adult learners and everyone in between realize their potential. That's what College Application and Exploration Week is all about.