Heathwood students may be well prepared for college academically—but what about all the other facets of the college experience? Social, financial, and legal issues also come into play as students begin to navigate adulthood and living away from home for the first time. That’s why the Upper School administration has launched a new program that connects the Senior class with a series of experts whose advice will help them be savvier about all aspects of college life.
Financial planner and Heathwood parent Chip Hardy’s presentation focused on helping students make smart decisions about everything from budgeting to staying out of credit card debt to beginning to think about saving for retirement. Attorney Heath Taylor, also a Heathwood parent, presented on the law as it pertains to college life and, more generally, legal issues everyone needs to be aware of as they first go out on their own. Kayce Singletary from Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands talked to students about healthy relationships and covered the issue of consent. And the Richland County Sheriff’s Department offered an optional—but very well attended self-defense workshop for female students.
The idea for the series, says Upper School Dean of Students Elise Hagstette, “came about as we were working with rising freshmen who were transitioning into high school and realized our seniors could benefit from similarly comprehensive attention to their transition. We knew they were intellectually prepared for college but wanted to make sure they were fully prepared for the rest of the college experience as well.”
The Upper School administrative team plans to refine and expand the program going forward, relying on feedback from this year’s Seniors to learn what was most helpful and what else rising college freshmen most want or need to know. Potential future topics could include anything from how to get along with a roommate to how to manage your time effectively when you’re no longer in classes for six hours a day.
“There are so many factors that shape the success of a student’s college experience,” says Hagstette. “We feel good about our students’ preparation in math and English and history, so we’re excited to become more intentional about preparing them in other important ways as well.”