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FHS group will help juniors decide future plans

Choosing a college is one thing. Rooming with a stranger on campus or figuring out how to pay for education? Well, that's something completely different.

Parents who have gone to college know what their juniors and seniors are facing as the students start looking at post-secondary education options. Those parents are able to share experiences, answer questions and give guidance.

But there are other students at Farmington High School whose parents never attended college. They're the first generation of college students in their families, and they need guidance, too. So now the FHS Career Center is giving some.

The new Get Ready for College group will start meeting in February at Farmington High School, under the guidance of career center specialist Sarah Garcia. It is open to juniors who plan to go to college, but whose parents did not.

"It's a group for those first-generation college students," Garcia said. "It's designed to guide those students through the whole college selection process, from filling out applications to financial, resumè development, tips for taking the SATs and so on."

Garcia has been recruiting students for the group over the past month. She's hoping to get a good base of students so they can not only learn options, but so provide feedback for one another.

The group will meet once a week through the end of the school year. Garcia plans to incorporate the students' new iPads into the equation by helping students find information that will help them plan for their academic futures. She'll create an iBook for them that will have information on each of the topics the group will discuss, so they'll be able to share that same information with their parents.

The first session will be an introduction, where students will be able to share their fears and hopes about college. From there, the group will look at types of colleges and requirements, how to choose a college, how to prepare for college entrance exams, and scholarship and grant information.

"It's huge if you think about it. For most students, the process is really overwhelming. For those kids whose parents didn't go to college, their parents are going through it with them for the first time, so hopefully this can make the process less daunting, just to let them know they're not alone," Garcia said.

The group is in its second year at Farmington High School, though this is Garcia's first year advising it. She's looking forward to the interaction among students, and to seeing how the group takes form for the future.

"I'm excited about it. I think it will be fun. I'm excited to connect with the students and find out what they want to know about," she said. "All of our students need encouragement and help for their success. Hopefully this will help with that goal."

Parents of students who may benefit from the group are also invited to contact Garcia for more information. She can be reached at 651-252-2815, or by email,

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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