Next Chapter

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Dr. Richard Clark

The Governor of Tennessee has been working hard on an initiative called Drive to 55. This is in- tended to get more Tennessee youth and adults to attend higher education. There is also a need to prepare these students to be successful in college and/or careers. To that end, Tennessee 4-H is partnering with the University of Tennessee Admissions office to offer an exciting 5 year program to prepare 4-H members to be successful in college and career endeavors. The program will be based on an effort currently underway at the University of Nebraska called “Next Chapter”.

Objectives of Next Chapter

  • Inspire youth to choose to continue their education after high school
  • Promote awareness of higher education options
  • Develop college and career readiness skills
  • Help students pair their interests with career choices
  • Encourage students to explore careers
  • Develop important life skills, including social skills, stress management, self-discipline, self-motivation, and responsibility
  • Offered at the beginning of 8th grade and continues through grade 12
  • Requires enrollment in Tennessee 4-H

Overview of the Program

The Next Chapter program is a collaborative effort between the Office of Admissions and Tennessee 4-H. In creating this program, we want to create an early discussion around what skills are necessary for students to be successful in both their secondary and postsecondary plans. With many of our audiences, this program serves as a launching point for potential first generation students to even consider themselves as college-bound. Our intent in registering and tracking student progress through this program is to simultaneously generate new 4-H participants and expand the reach of our brand, while supporting the ambitious growth goals laid out by Admissions as well.

The program guidelines will be created by an advisory team, consisting of admissions and 4-H administrators, as well as state, region, and county-level representatives from 4-H. Each club is facilitated at the county level, with some operating within the school day, others in an after-school or evening set- ting. We will also implement a day-long option at several locations across the state to provide another option for students to participate as well. The target audience will be 4-H youth in grades 8-12. As we set our required lessons for each year, we will start in 8th grade with a broad interest inventory, exploring career options, and potential pathways. This focus begins to sharpen each subsequent year as students get closer to graduation. We want the program to have a standardized focus statewide, but the flexibility to tap into unique resources, and address the individual needs of a given community. To that end, we will set out to formalize 4-5 lessons each year, while encouraging the club to meet monthly. The lessons are derived from existing activities and newly developed lesson plans. These will be developed by 4-H Specialists and Agents throughout the state with input from Ad- missions. Along with these lessons, each year includes a 4-H project that students are encouraged to display at their county fair or an open house.

Our kick-off event for 8th graders is designed to be a celebration for the youth. Those that RSVP will receive a certificate acknowledging their involvement in the program. Each student will have his/her name called, and have the opportunity to walk across the stage and shake the hand of our university administrators. After a lunch, students and their parents get a chance to talk with college representatives about potential majors, recommended high school coursework, etc. We will provide a work- sheet with questions designed to stimulate discussion, but we anticipate these discussions will take on a rich life of their own. The day culminates with optional tours of our campus and the stadium.

It is hoped that the University (s) will work with 4-H to devise a process by which students that complete the Next Chapter program will have an expedited pathway to university admission. This would serve as an incentive for youth to participate and complete the program.

Three 4-H'ers

Next Chapter Yearly Overview

EDUCATION College Bound Readiness Program

  • Expected College Start Date: Five years
  • Campus visit and Tour
  • Admission pathway to the University for 8th Grade 4-H Members
  • Learning experiences and local 4-H activities
4-H Next Chapter

Chapter 1 (9th Grade)

  • Students will set professional and academic goals through SMART College Goals program.
  • Students will identify career clusters correlated with professional and academic goals through Discovering Careers program.
  • Students will complete community service project as determined by goals. Students will learn to write public service announcement regarding community service and participate in local 4-H contest.
  • Regional Celebration in (early) April

Chapter 2 (10th Grade)

  • Students will identify individual best practices for maximizing motivation
  • Students will learn best practices for enhancing study skills
  • Students will learn time management skills
  • Students will learn how to communicate effectively through public speaking skills with a college/career topic

Chapter 3 (11th Grade)

  • Students will visit the University(s) of their choice to solidify where to formally apply
  • Students take the ACT/SAT
  • Students will learn effective reading strategies
  • Students will learn effective note taking strategies
  • Students will learn effective research skills for potential colleges or universities of interest.
  • Students will learn job application, resume writing, and interview skills through the Build your Future or Connect the Dots program.
  • Students will participate in local or regional 4-H interview contest.

Chapter 4 (12th Grade)

  • Students will learn best practices for college application and/or essay completion.
  • Students will learn strategies to cope with procrastination.
  • Students will complete a final college visit.
  • Students will learn to effectively communicate accomplishments in a resume.
  • Mentor younger Next Chapter members and take on leadership role in regional celebra- tions.
  • Flexible: offered through schools, community 4-H clubs or regional programming, or retreat setting
  • Unique: unlike any other college readiness program offered throughout the state

If you believe your 4-H youth would benefit, contact Richard Clark. We hope to begin the program in the fall.

4-H Next Chapter