Counselor Spotlights

Tinisha Parker
Sparking Students' Interest in College Readiness

Gwinnett Online Campus is the first school of its kind in Georgia. This virtual charter school earned the prestigious Broad Prize for its work educating more than 160,000 high school students. The school is proud of its innovative approach to education -- and that extends to its approach to college readiness.

The Challenge

High school counselor Tinisha Parker is committed to increasing college participation among Gwinnett Online School students, yet connecting them to these resources was a challenge. Students are seldom on campus, so arranging for college fairs or in-person college visits is impractical.

The Solution

Parker gave her students an online tour of CollegeWeekLive to encourage them to research colleges and financial aid options. "Once students saw how interactive the site was, they were hooked," said Parker. "They liked that the site's navigation is similar to what they're used to on their iPhones and iPads. They also really like having instant access to schools like Stanford and Emory."

Based on the students' positive feedback, Parker incorporated the site directly into the school's learning platform and Virtual Counseling Center. To help students make the most of their online conversations with colleges, she uses CollegeWeekLive's lesson plan, including worksheets and Q&A sheets that help guide students in goal setting and college research. "My students are very excited about CollegeWeekLive," said Parker. "It works because they get their questions answered immediately by real students."

The Results

The site has proven valuable to counselors and students alike. "CollegeWeekLive enhances delivery of college readiness skills," said Parker. "Students can log in from wherever they are and gain important college information. The expert presentations are also wonderful, and I've archived several of them to review to gain more information myself."

What's Next

Building on this success, Parker is planning to introduce CollegeWeekLive to parents during the next FAFSA informational session. She expects it will be a helpful resource for parents looking to help their children choose a college, understand what it takes to get accepted, and plan how to pay for their education.