Journal the pre-college program experience

Students can journal their experience during a pre-college program to use in their future.

Pre-college programs offer youth a great chance to prepare for their future in higher education. Pre-college programs provide an opportunity to experience the college environment. Also, youth are meeting college faculty and, in some cases, college students who serve as chaperones or teachers facilitating sessions. They have the opportunity to learn about different majors and careers. They may also take classes to prepare for the SAT or ACT test and hear presentations on admissions, financial aid and scholarships. Through this great learning opportunity, Michigan State University Extension encourages students to journal their experience during their time at a pre-college program.

What types of items can students to journal? Here are some ideas.

Potential network

Who are people at the pre-college program who can be in a student’s potential network? They are other student participants, program coordinators, college faculty and admissions representatives. Each group of people can serve a specific purpose in a student’s network. Record their names and contact information for future outreach and connections.


A student should record what they are learning during their time in a pre-college program. What is something new that was learned from a session that can assist the student academically? Or, maybe it was an idea the youth can use for personal development? How is the student growing from the experience? How is the experience leading to their college major or future career? Writing down what was learned academically or personally can be used for future college or scholarship applications and interviews based on the experience.

College environment and resources

Taking notes on the college environment and what resources it has to offer can assist students in making a decision to attend (or not attend) the college they attended as they participated in the pre-college program. If students are able to make visits to certain places or programs on the campus, they can record any type of useful information that might inform their college decision. Some of those locations to visit and explore include: the service learning center, career center, study abroad center, academic support, counseling services, health services, student life for student organizations, physical fitness facilities, club sports and intramural sports, or any center serving students with disabilities. These visits can provide helpful details about the support they would provide the youth if they chose to attend that particular college.

Recording the experience from a pre-college program can help a student remember their experience and carry that experience over into academic and non-academic areas in life. It can also build a life skill for recording through note-taking. Journaling is also a powerful tool that can allow a student to see their growth academically and personally as they review it in the future. Make sure to pack a journal for the next pre-college program.

Michigan State University Extension and Michigan 4-H Youth Development help to prepare young people for successful futures. As a result of career exploration and workforce preparation activities, thousands of Michigan youth are better equipped to make important decisions about their professional future, ready to contribute to the workforce and able to take fiscal responsibility in their personal lives.

To learn about the positive impact of Michigan 4-H youth career preparation, money management and entrepreneurship programs, read the 2016 Impact Report: “Preparing Michigan Youth for Future Employment.”

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