Plan Your Path Tip No. 1: It’s never too early to communicate with colleges

Grady students show off their letters to colleges and universities.

How are you Planning Your Path – or guiding your children or students along their way to higher education and careers? We’re anxious to share your activities with others, as HISD moves into implementing the exciting changes brought by House Bill 5. Here’s the first in our series.

Grady Middle School eighth-graders have taken the first step on the path to college and career readiness. In their English class, the students wrote letters to a favorite college or university to request information regarding programs the schools offer in fields that interest them.

“Even though these students have not yet started high school, it is not too soon for them to start thinking about what they’ll be doing after high school,” said Grady Middle School’s eighth-grade IB Language A instructor Dorothy Leahy.

Jesus Carmona wants to study engineering, so he wrote to Rice University for advice on the best classes to take in high school and college.

Shelby Hieter wrote to Cambridge University in England to find out more about their theater arts program and the arts in general. She wants to know what campus activities they offer, and if they offer tutorials to help new students — especially international students — be successful.

Two students pose with responses from the University of Houston.

Jada Hemsley wrote the University of California at Los Angeles for information on how to be successful at college. “I think this exercise was a good experience,” she said. “Every student should get an opportunity to do something like this.”

The Grady students’ college letters have been mailed, and responses have been trickling in.

Under House Bill 5, these and all eighth-graders across Texas will have to choose a path or “endorsement” by the beginning of ninth grade. They can choose from five areas of study: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), Business and Industry, Arts and Humanities, Public Services, or Multidisciplinary. The endorsement they choose will dictate many of the courses they take in high school and prepare them for higher education and careers.

For more detailed information on graduation requirements and endorsements, visit HISD’s Plan Your Path website.