Are Alternative Colleges a Solution for All Students who Don’t Quite Fit the Mold - Student Research Foundation

Are Alternative Colleges a Solution for All Students who Don’t Quite Fit the Mold?

If you’re a high school college guidance counselor, chances are you are thinking that a certain number of your counselees should apply to non-traditional, alternative colleges. You might already be an expert on those colleges and what they offer. If you are not, you are probably thinking that when you have the time, you will investigate non-traditional colleges and make some recommendations about where your students should apply.

That is all well and good. After all, a guidance counselor’s job is to help students refine the lists of colleges where they will apply. However, doing just a little research into colleges makes it abundantly clear that . . .

There are dozens of kinds of “alternative” schools

In fact, the entire concept of an “alternative” college is almost certainly flawed, because there are so many different kinds. For just a quick overview of how different they are, consider the fact that a so-called alternative college could be any of these things . . .

  • Nurturing of independent study like Evergreen College, where students can design their own programs of study.
  • Focused on creativity like Bennington College where students can focus on writing, dance or other arts.
  • Environmentally committed, like Oberlin College.
  • Rooted in one educational philosophy like Deep Springs College, where students learn through a rigorous program of academic study combined with physical labor.
  • Supportive and humanistic like Wayfinding College, which is dedicated to developing the whole person and not treating students as “numbers.”
  • Dedicated to innovation like Olin College, a unique engineering school with an emphasis on developing innovative and creative products with the potential to succeed.
  • Supportive of students with special learning needs like Daemen College, which has a special emphasis on educating students who have autism.

There Are Many Kinds of Alternative Students Too

A high school guidance counselor we know reports that among her counselees is one ”late bloomer” who has no idea what she wants to do with her life and will need a college that can help her define her career options. But that same counselor is also counseling a student who is already completing advanced engineering projects and who needs a tech school that will let him dig in and learn more about the career path he has already chosen. And she is also counseling students who want to explore pursuing careers in modern dance, screenwriting, culinary arts, and automotive design.

Are all those students in need of an alternative college? In a sense, yes. But they are very different, and the colleges they attend should be very different too.

To Learn More about How Students Plan Careers

We invite all students to explore their career options by participating in our career and college studies. Students who complete the free career test for high school students will receive information on college and career opportunities which match their interests.

Caring Donors Give Students in Chicago a Novel they Can Relate to - a project supported by the Student Research Foundation

Caring Donors Give Students in Chicago a Novel they Can Relate to

“I teach mainly high school freshmen in an urban inner-city environment on the South Side of Chicago,” writes Mr. Lothspeich, a 9th-grade teacher at Chicago Vocational Career Academy,in
Chicago, IL who is committed to his students. “Despite their daily struggles outside of school, my students are funny, hard-working, and intuitive kids. In my class, the students often write about their life experiences, using both their struggles and triumphs to weave together a classroom narrative of life on the South Side. The work that we do in my classroom is expressive and introspective, encouraging students to explore their identities and reflect on what makes them who they are, both as individuals and a class.” Read more

Students Learn Business and Life Skills by Operating a School Store thanks to the support from the Student Research Foundation

Students Learn Business and Life Skills by Operating a School Store

Running a store offers a great opportunity to learn practical business skills like budgeting, not to mention “soft” business skills like responsibility and dealing with the public. Read more

How Moms and Dads Can Help their Kids Discover the Right Career Options - Student Research Foundation

How Moms and Dads Can Help their Kids Discover the Right Career Options

Thoughts for Mother’s Day 2019 . . .

Happy Mother’s Day! All of us at the Student Research Foundation want to express our appreciation for the critical role that mothers – and fathers – play in shaping their children’s career choices.

But what kind of influence can parents really have on the way their high school-aged children are thinking about careers? It turns out, a great deal, as research conducted by the Student Research Foundation has found. Read more

Food Service Studies and Careers a classroom project funded by Student Research Foundation

Students Pursue Food Service Studies and Careers

About 140 students are enrolled in classes in Mrs. Niles’s 11th-grade food lab, at Orville H Platt High School Meriden, CT, learning the basics of safe food preparation and handling. “Giving our student a chance to work in hands-on food labs exposes them to many possible career options in the culinary industry,” she explains, “as well as careers in food sciences, and health and nutrition fields.” Read more

Creating Multimedia Projects thanks to a donation from the Student Research Foundation

Students in Arkansas Are Creating Multimedia Projects

Lights, Camera, Action . . . Thanks to Donations from the Student Research Foundation, Students in Arkansas Are Creating Multimedia Projects

The ability to create videos and multimedia presentations is a skill that can open doors to careers in corporations, news organizations, online enterprises, and other companies today. Yet students cannot learn the skills they need unless they have basic equipment like LED lights, backgrounds and microphones. Read more

New Research about Applying to College and Helping People - Student Research Foundation

Why “I’m Applying to College” Should Not Be the Motivation for Helping People

Why do high school students take the time to volunteer and help people?

Many of them, if not most, have a sincere desire to do good in the world. However, as most teachers, parents and counselor know, many are also motivated by the need to do things that make them look good to the colleges where they are applying. Read more

How Slime Brings Science and STEM to the Library - Student Research Foundation Funded Project

How Slime Brings Science and STEM to the Library

Mrs. Dabney, Pasadena Texas High School Librarian, Helps Her Students Learn about Slime!

“Libraries aren’t just for reading anymore,” writes Mrs. Dabney, a high school librarian in Pasadena, TX. “Today’s libraries have books, technology, games, and maker spaces. We are striving to be the best library we can be in the 21st century. Our students lack many experiences due to socio-economic status, and we want to change that.”

Read more

Generations Timeline and research on Generation Z - Student Research Foundation

How Are Gen Z High School Students Thinking About Careers Today?

Findings from the Student Research Foundation’s Career Pathways and 21st Century Skills Study . . .

In this post, we will take a close look at how members of Generation Z are preparing for their careers. Each of our posts about Gen Z focus on one research study. Read more

Most Important Career Skills Students Should Learn - Student Research Foundation

Career Counseling Advice: Tell Your Students the Importance of Loyalty to Employers

Keeping employees from quitting their jobs after only a month or two is becoming a bigger challenge for many businesses across the county. As one executive at an auto components manufacturer recently told us, “We hire young employees and then we can’t get them to stay around for more than a month or two, even if we offer them a bonus they have to wait three months to get. They get a little more money at other companies, and they are gone. This problem affects not only employees we expect to employ permanently, but summer employees and even interns.” Read more