College Quest Project

Project Overview:

Students will explore the question: “How do I choose the college that is the best fit for me?”  by researching, planning, and presenting a five-day college tour. The project involves three parts. The first is to learn about the college admission process and then conduct research on different colleges & universities The second is to develop a college “menu” of one public university, one private college, and one community college, complete with research and budget for a junior student “client.” The third part is the creation and execution of a professional presentation where students will propose their college “menu” to an audience of students and business partners.

Students will work on this cross-curricular project, in teams, during their Academy classes. Click here to see the content standards addressed in this project by subject-area. The project will last four weeks, and the grades on each each major assignment will count for every Academy teacher. See below for more information and links to all project assignments.

Project Objective:

The Academy of Business emphasizes a college-going culture and helps prepare students for acceptance to and success in post-high school education. The purpose of the project is to have 10th-grade students begin thinking about college, investigating college, and picturing themselves going to college. This early exposure is to aid in academic motivation and preparedness throughout their high school career. The big ideas include in-depth research of colleges and universities,  budgeting, and formal business presentation skills and practice.

Project Calendar and Deadlines:

  • Complete College Quest Calendar (coming soon for 2013-14!)

Major Deadlines:

  • (coming soon for 2013-14!)

College Quest Part 1: Researching Universities

In this part of the project, students will become familiar with college terminology, survey their class to determine which colleges should be incorporated into their tour, compare universities, pick the campuses they will visit, and write an MLA research paper on one university.

University Research

Students will begin their College Quest project by exploring the universities in California that might be of interest to their class. Students will spend time becoming familiar with college terminology, researching the different types of colleges that are out there, locating institutions of interest on a map, and comparing universities to one another on a statistical level. The below links are a great place to begin researching:

» 40 College Terms Glossary
This list of 40 terms will help students become more familiar with the vocabulary that is used on college websites and college campuses.

» CollegeResults.org
Use this very helpful website to choose any universities in California (or the United States)  to compare with others! Once you select them, you will see tons of data comparing school size, location, ethnicity, majors, professor-to-student ratio, average GPA, admission requirements, graduation rate, and much more!

» U.S. News & World Report – College Rankings
Get exclusive rankings of 1,400 universities. Use the search tool to find a university and see how it ranks in various areas against other universities.

» CollegeBoard.com
Visit this comprehensive website to get fast facts about colleges all over the United States. This is also the site to sign up for the SAT test, take practice SAT’s, view SAT results, send SAT scores to colleges, and more.

» CSUMentor.edu
Visit this website in order to find info about any California State University (CSU), fill out CSU college applications online, view admission status, and sign up for placement tests. You will need to create a login and password for this site.

» Locate Colleges in California
Use this website from the State of California to type in the name of a city in California, and locate all the colleges in the city on a map.

» Public Universities in California
View this pdf document to see all the California State Universities (CSU) and University of California (UC) locations on a map.

» Private & Independent Universities in California
View this pdf document to see a comprehensive list of private universities and independent colleges plotted on a California map. Note: You may have to magnify this document to read it.

» YOU University- Online College Tours
Check out this great website which lets you take virtual tours of college campuses.

 

The University MLA Research Paper Assignment

Assignment Description: After the group has selected the colleges and universities for their client, students will each choose one of the institutions on which to do an in-depth, MLA-formatted research paper. The paper will be a minimum of 3 pages in length and will cover the following topics about their selected university: history, demographics and location of the college; admissions process; finances;  and undergraduate programs and activities.  See below for specifics on this assignment:

» University MLA Research Paper Requirements
View this pdf assignment handout for a detailed description of the requirements, format, and topics of the research paper.

» University MLA Research Paper Grading Rubric
View this pdf handout of the detailed grading rubric that will be used to assess the university research paper.

» Sample University MLA Research Paper
View this pdf document for an example of a full-length,  MLA-style research paper on UC Merced.

» Basics of MLA Format Guide
View this helpful pdf document from CSU Los Angeles which outlines the basics of writing a paper in MLA (Modern Language Association) -format. This handout discusses how to set up the paper, what information to record when researching, how to set up the works cited page, and how to incorporate citations into the text of the essay. The document also provides several examples of a title page, works cited page, and various citation formats for different sources (books, articles, websites,etc.)

» Avoiding Plagiarism
View this document from UC Davis to get an important lesson on what qualifies as plagiarism, and why it is important to avoid it.

Part 2: Planning the Menu of Colleges

College & University Comparison Assignment:

Assignment Description: Students will put together a PowerPoint comparing a public university, private university, and community college for their client. The comparison will include information such as the application process, courses and majors offered, student life activities, cost to attend and more.

» PowerPoint Requirements
View this pdf assignment handout for a detailed description of the requirements and format of the budget spreadsheet.

» PowerPoint Grading Rubric
View this pdf handout of the detailed grading rubric that will be used to assess the budget spreadsheet.

» Sample PowerPoint
View this pdf document for an example template of a budget.

 

Budget Spreadsheet Assignment

Assignment Description: Students will use MS Excel to create a spreadsheet budget for their trip. The budget will include every expense for the college tour field trip including costs of: transportation, lodging, tour fees, meals,etc. The budget will show itemized expenses, and make a proposal for the total amount of  amount of money and the trip, amount to be requested from the Board of Advisors, and amount that students will pay toward the trip. See below for specifics on this assignment:

» Budget Spreadsheet Requirements
View this pdf assignment handout for a detailed description of the requirements and format of the budget spreadsheet.

» Trip Budget Spreadsheet Grading Rubric
View this pdf handout of the detailed grading rubric that will be used to assess the budget spreadsheet.

» Sample Budget
View this pdf document for an example template of a budget.

Part 3: Final Presentation

The Video Assignment

Assignment Description: Students will develop a 1-2 minute video marketing their colleges. Students will use MS MovieMaker to creatively combine photos, music, video footage and voice-over narration. This video will be incorporated into the larger PowerPoint presentation that will be given to the audience of students and business volunteers.  See below for specifics on this assignment:

» Video Assignment Requirements
View this pdf assignment handout for a detailed description of the requirements for the marketing video.

» Video Grading Rubric
View this pdf handout of the detailed grading rubric that will be used to assess the marketing video.

 

The Multimendia Presentation Assignment

Assignment Description: As a final for the College Quest Project, students will create a formal presentation of their complete college research to their clients. Students will use MS PowerPoint to deliver their presentation. Students will be evaluated by a panel consisting of students, mentors, business volunteers, and teaching staff. See below for specifics on this assignment:

» PowerPoint Presentation Requirements
View this pdf assignment handout for a detailed description of the requirements for the marketing PowerPoint.

» PowerPoint Presentation Grading Rubric
View this pdf handout of the detailed grading rubric that will be used to assess the marketing video.

» Tips on Speech Delivery
View this presentation for tips on giving an oral presentation.

» PowerPoint: Visual Aid Tips
View this handout for tips on how to make your PowerPoint slides look professional and polished.

An itinerary is a detailed plan for a journey that lists list places to visit. You will create an itinerary that lays out what you have planned for your class each day of their college tour trip.