Taking an Active Role: Teachers and Administrators

Think about teachers who have inspired you to go to college, and consider others in a school setting who counseled you or helped you set your sites high. Are there one or two who stand out as having given you a vision of your potential or who helped you know how to prepare for college?

Research shows that counselors and administrators can have a powerful influence on a young woman’s college decision. Here are a few tips about how teachers, counselors, and administrators can help most:

Counselors and Administrators

  • Be more aware of the powerful influence you can have on the college decisions of young women.
  • Take the time to ask young women questions about their college plans. Look for opportunities for positive “transformational moments”— moments that can change the way young women think about themselves and their futures.
  • Discuss the broad benefits of higher education with young women and talk to them about graduating from college.
  • Encourage college preparation activities. Not surprisingly, there is a high correlation with participation in college preparation activities (like a campus visit, discussing financial aid, and participating in AP or concurrent enrollment) and college attendance.

Impacting a young woman’s decision to go to college does not have to require lots of time. It can be as simple as a moment in which you help her see herself in a new way. That can spark a young woman’s imagination, sense of worth, and motivation. One young woman said, ““My principal really made me feel excited about the idea of going to college. He encouraged me to do my best, and to keep going. I think one of the biggest things that made an impact on me was that he was willing to learn who I was by name and situation, and he took the time to give me advice.”

Interestingly, less educated participants now wish counselors would have more assertively encouraged and “pushed” them to attend college. They wish they had not been dismissed as not being college material.

Teachers, administrators and counselors have a unique ability to inspire young women in their aspirations and to guide their decisions to go to college. One of the greatest gifts teachers and administrators give is to help girls and young women see their potential and then give them the confidence and tools to achieve. For more data and tips, click here.