Post-secondary planning is a crucial senior year milestone, dreaming about the future, discussing career options, and charting higher educational possibilities. This work, while exciting, is piled high with administrative processes, attention to details, and decisions both small and large. With the help of Susan Donovan, our Director of College and Career Development, Community of Unity students have support in every aspect of this process.

This year, to increase student support, we launched the Parent Engagement Initiative. Backed by data on the importance of parental involvement in post-secondary planning, particularly for our first-generation college students, we committed to involving parents and guardians in the process. Each week we call parents, schedule meetings, and Susan is allowed to hear parents’ hopes and concerns and make sure they are aware of where their child is in the process. These meetings allow Community of Unity to gather a more holistic picture of student needs and create a fluid line of communication between the organization and student families.

In reflecting on our college parent engagement initiative, Susan said, “So often we are just focused on our relationships with the students and providing them with as many services as possible that we miss an opportunity to create partnerships with parents who also want to support their students and sometimes don’t know how to do that. These conversations allow parents to be partners in the process. Down the road, when financial aid and other documents are needed, parents feel more invested in the process because they have been connected with and included in the planning.”

Graduation from high school is an enormous transition for the student and the entire family unit. Involving guardians allows families to process this transition in a more collective way. Community of Unity believes that supporting our students doesn’t end with high school graduation. This post-secondary planning process gives students and their families a window into the support Community of Unity will continue to provide in years to come.