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Area High School Students Explore Careers, Campus Life at York College

January 08, 2024
Career for Life Events

Bridging the gap between high school and higher education, the College hosted several outreach programs this fall that focused on opportunities in the fields of behavioral sciences, education, business, and health care.

In the fall semester, regional high school students got to know York College of Pennsylvania’s campus and its academic programs through three career-focused events. The “Careers That Make a Difference” session at the School of Behavioral Sciences and Education, the “Career for Life” event at the Graham School of Business, and the “Health Professions Workshop” at the Dr. Donald E. and Louis J. Myers School of Nursing and Health Professions introduced students to a myriad of career choices.

These and other such York College programs aim to provide high school juniors and seniors with invaluable insight into academic choices, campus life, and potential career paths.

Careers that Make a Difference

The “Careers That Make a Difference” event, held for the second time this year, showcased the diverse employment options in behavioral sciences and education. According to Stacey Dammann, Ed.D., Dean of the School of Behavioral Sciences and Education, the session helped high school students connect with the practical aspects of various majors.

“We want to showcase for high school students the career end of what could be available,” she says.

In October, the program welcomed over 200 high school juniors and seniors. Throughout the daylong event, students took part in academic activities, toured the campus, and interacted with York College students.

One of Dr. Dammann’s goals was to dispel the belief that college is inaccessible for some students. The event aimed to make the campus experience come to life while demonstrating the value of a college education.

With the College’s commitment to nurturing socially responsible, career-ready professionals, Dr. Dammann focused on many of the community- and service-oriented majors in the School of Behavioral Sciences and Education. She hopes that such outreach initiatives help to create a pipeline of talented individuals for community-focused careers in such fields as education, psychology, human services, and criminology and criminal justice.

“There are way more career options than they’re thinking about as high school students,” she says. “There’s a much broader opportunity.”

The College also offers numerous 4+1 programs that allow students to earn a master’s degree within five years. For students who graduate high school unsure of what career to pursue, Dr. Dammann believes York College is a great next step.

“We tend to have a lot more to offer than some of our local students expect,” she says. “Even our students who aren’t quite sure what they want to do, they’ll find that here. We’re well-positioned to support them. Even if they change their mind, we’ll still work to help them finish in four years.”

Career for Life

The Graham School of Business hosted its inaugural “Career for Life” event for high school juniors and seniors in October. It welcomed 65 students, high school principals, and counselors from across York County.

The goal was to introduce students to York College’s business program and assist them in planning their education goals, says Nick Delener, Ph.D., Dean of the Graham School of Business. He described the session as a full-day immersion into the college experience, featuring faculty lectures, simulations, and interactive sessions in various business majors.

“They saw firsthand what the college experience could be like, including unique aspects of the college community, how students interact with each other, and current student ambassadors,” says Dr. Delener. “All of these, I hope, helped them gauge the personality of the College and what the lifestyle is like.”

Students had the opportunity to select from a variety of interactive sessions in which they learned about the Graham School’s various programs and how they lead to diverse employment opportunities.

The event allowed students to attend classes, meet faculty, and interact with potential future classmates. This approach aimed to showcase York College’s community-oriented atmosphere and the practical, applied-learning aspects of its business programs.

Dr. Delener believes that the event’s emphasis on soft skills and practical knowledge aligns with the needs of future business professionals.

“College education teaches you soft skills―how to socialize, communicate, and write. Without a college education you will not be as successful in business life,” he says. “You do need the technical knowledge, but you need to have the soft skills, decision-making skills, and strategic skills.”

With York College’s close-knit community, dedicated faculty, small class sizes, internship and study-abroad opportunities, and a curriculum focused on applied experiential learning, Dr. Delener believes it is a great fit for students in search of a well-rounded educational experience. A campus visit while in high school is an excellent way for students to experience the College’s offerings and assess if it is the right fit for them, he says.

Health Professions Workshop

The “Health Professions Workshop,” held for the first time in November, introduced nearly 150 high school seniors to the diverse career options in health care. Elizabeth Shearer, Chair of the Department of Health Professions, notes that the event’s concentration on specific majors and the School of Nursing’s departments provided students with a focused and in-depth experience.

The Workshop emphasized allied health professions that often go unnoticed. It featured workshops, interactive sessions, and campus tours, providing students with a glimpse into healthcare careers available beyond traditional roles.

“What we wanted to do is show high school students what the various options in health care are, other than the doctor or the nurse,” Shearer says. “In healthcare and in health professions in general, there are a variety of allied health professionals who don’t get as much press, so to speak. We wanted to highlight those careers.”

From ultrasound technology to nuclear medicine technology, radiology to recreational therapy, health profession options are numerous and varied.

Shearer focused on connecting with prospective students on a personal level at the workshop. Having first-year York College students serve as leaders allowed high school students to gain insights into the college experience from peers who recently made the transition. Over 30 York College students helped make the day a success.

The “Health Professions Workshop,” aimed at offering an interactive and personalized experience, aligned with York College's commitment to not only educate students in their chosen fields but to help them envision their futures in the College community and beyond.

While many health professions require only an associate degree, Shearer hopes the workshop opened students’ eyes to the long-term benefits of a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

“The bachelor’s degree is going to give them much more career breadth and depth and the ability to move further,” she says.

She advises students to look ahead 10 years and envision where they want to be in their careers. If that position requires a bachelor’s degree or beyond, Shearer encourages them to complete that schooling while they are younger and have more flexibility. The additional education York College provides also is intertwined with experiential learning components such as clinical rotations, internships, and work under the tutelage of professionals and with patients.

“We really work hard to make our students successful,” she says.

Prepared for the future

York College’s career-focused events showcase its dedication to providing high school students with an authentic and comprehensive understanding of college life and academic options. By bridging the gap between high school and higher education, these events empower students to make informed decisions about their futures.

Sessions such as “Careers That Make a Difference”, “Career for Life”, and the “Health Professions Workshop” engage the local high school community and help to dismiss the notion that a college education is beyond the grasp of some students.

As York College expands its outreach efforts, opportunities for personal and academic growth become more available for high school students. York College aims not only to enrich the educational experience of its students but to ensure that the next generation of professionals is well-prepared for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

“There are opportunities closer to home that will prepare them and prepare them well for a job, for a career, for that next step,” says Dr. Dammann.