Newswise — For high school students with college aspirations, especially those from underserved communities, the spread of the Omicron variant couldn’t be worse news.

After two years of remote and hybrid classes, and now the prospect of yet more pandemic-style learning, many barely know the teachers on whom they will rely for recommendations; high school counselors, already overwhelmed by their caseloads, are even more inaccessible; and the college application process and financial aid has changed dramatically in the last two years. Those factors contributed to a decline in college going rates of 6.8% last year and 11.8% for low-income students, with many colleges reporting hundreds of thousands of dollars in unclaimed federal financial aid, because of under-enrollment. 

A college and career readiness program offered by the national nonprofit CFES Brilliant Pathways addresses this gap by training parents to fill the role that counselors, teachers, coaches and community members served pre-pandemic. 

 “In these trying times, parents can play a vital part in helping their children apply to the right colleges, gain acceptance, obtain the best financial aid package and ultimately succeed,” said Rick Dalton, CFES president and CEO. “Parents need accurate, up-to-date information and the resources to deliver it effectively.” 

CFES has offered its College and Career Readiness (CCR) training to school personnel, private sector volunteers and community members for two years, with more than 2,000 completing the course. Parents from elementary school through high school can benefit.

“In our district and across the country, parents are looking for ways to give their children any boost they can,” said Rachel Ribis, a teacher at Northeastern Clinton Central School in Champlain, N.Y., which has signed up 60 parents for the CCR workshop. “The CFES training will be invaluable in helping our parents and their children find and navigate the pathways through higher education and career planning.”

Four 30-minute on-line sessions, followed by monthly boosters

The training begins January 20 and will be taught by CFES professionals in four 30-minute online sessions in January, followed by four monthly booster sessions. Highlights of the training include:

  • Equipping families with tools and activities to better prepare their children to become college and career ready.
  • Helping parents develop essential skills in their children like perseverance, teamwork and networking for success in school, the workplace and beyond.
  • Understanding new pathways to college and careers.
  • Finding the right college or technical school and navigating the application process.
  • Accessing scholarships and financial aid and comparing offers.
  • Conducting in-person and virtual college visits.
  • Earning college credit before high school graduation. 

Parents who complete the course will earn a certificate from the University of Vermont. The first 1,000 parents of CFES students to enroll and complete the training will each receive a $25 gift card.

Parents can enroll in the course at this website:

Founded in 1991, CFES Brilliant Pathways has helped more than 100,000 students from 42 states attend college.  




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