One of the purposes of Ferris State University’s FerrisNow Program is to expand college access, especially in areas where students may not live in close proximity to a college or university. In 2014, Harbor Beach High School, which is located on the western shore of Lake Huron, began offering Ferris courses to its students to increase college access and help students discover their passions. Harbor Beach is nearly an hour away from the closest community college and is an hour and 45-minute drive to the nearest university campus.
“Geographically, our students are far away from any university,” noted Theresa Hessling, the FerrisNow instructor at Harbor Beach. “The FerrisNow program allows our students exposure to a university course, access to college credits while in high school, and the potential to earn the FerrisNext scholarship if they continue their education there beyond high school.”
College access is an important value at Harbor Beach. Ferris’s Career and Education Planning (CARE) curriculum assists students in setting academic, college, and career goals. The classes also help them prepare for job searches they learn resume writing, interviewing and networking skills. Taking a CARE class may help students complete their college degree sooner and with less student debt.
“The CARE courses force students to take the time to relate personality and skills assessments to their lives, research careers that match their skills, personally interview people in careers of interest, and job shadow to see if that career will truly fulfill their lifetime passion,” noted Hessling. “Knowing this before entering college or the workforce can save them time, money, and hassles in their future.”
“I decided to take CARE because I was lost regarding my future career plans and thought it could broaden my options,” said Allison Holdwick, a Harbor Beach High School senior. “Also, I took this class because I had been told from other people who took it previously that it really helps. I learned that even if someone is unsure about what path to follow after high school, after taking this class most people will have a definite idea.”
Ferris courses offered at Harbor Beach include CARE 102-Career and Education Planning, CARE 202-Career Skills: Interviewing and Professional Etiquette, and UNIV 101-College Student Methods.
“FerrisNow is grateful to have Harbor Beach High School as one of our partners,” said Leah Melichar, the FerrisNow Outreach Coordinator. “Theresa is an excellent instructor. Because of her efforts and the support of school administrators, 80 Harbor Beach students enrolled in Ferris classes over the last 5 years.”
The FerrisNow program also allows students to experience the rigor and expectations of a college course.
“For anyone looking to take a college class in high school, my word of advice for you is to make sure you have the work ethic and time management needed for them,” Holdwick stated. “College classes are harder than regular high school classes that you have been taking and they take your undivided attention, but they are so worth it!”
Not only do courses offered through the FerrisNow program benefit students, they also benefit the instructors who teach them.
“The staff at Ferris has been amazing to work with,” Hessling commented. “I have learned immensely from my colleagues there who share their ideas with me. The communication between staff is phenomenal. I always feel welcome to ask any questions. It has truly been a wonderful experience for both the students in my community as well as myself.”
Hessling, who also serves as Harbor Beach High School’s Academic Advisor and English/Language Arts teacher, has been a FerrisNow instructor for five years.
Holdwick plans to complete her General Management associate’s degree at Delta College and transfer to Michigan State University to pursue a degree in Agricultural Industries following high school graduation.
Additional information about the CARE and College Study Methods classes, the FerrisNow Program and the FerrisNext Scholarship are available at www.ferris.edu/ferrisnow.