As many of you are looking for ways to spice up your school schedules and transcripts, you probably have heard of AVID
at some point. I myself, have been in the AVID program for about 3 years now, so I’ve acquired quite a bit of knowledge about what the class is about and why you should consider taking the course as well!
The AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program is a class that you can take in high school, but in some cases you can even begin in middle school, all the way to college. It is a college/career preparatory class, so the class focuses on college and career readiness for when you succeed in high school and beyond.
Some work you will probably do during your time in the program are resumes, cover letters, 4-year plans (basically a transcript), TRF’s, working on your organizational skills, college projects/presentations, and career projects/presentations. There’s also a 10-hour community service requirement, to help you gain volunteer and work experience for your applications and resumes.
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This academic program is extremely beneficial throughout your academic career. From my experience so far, this class has left me extremely prepared for life after high-school and beyond. Program requirements and coursework varies depending on what school you go to, but everything is pretty similar for the most part. I’m also pretty sure most schools have you start freshman year for the full experience.
Here is my personal experience in the AVID program:
My freshman year was pretty simple. It was an introduction to the program: what we will be working on and focusing on during our time in the program. Freshman year also focused on organizational skills. The program strictly emphasizes that organization is essential for success, so the main goal was to get organized.
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We had “Binder Checks,” where every week, tutors (college students) come in and look through our binders and grade us based on how organized it was. This was done sometimes for our agendas too (they checked to see if we filled them out with our homework to get in the habit).
This was used as a way to really get our organizational skills in check, and for the most part, this worked. To this day, I rely on my agenda for all my assignments, meetings, & events, and using a binder really helped me organize all of my work. I rarely lose things.
We also discussed scholarships, college, and career opportunities. We learned how to navigate many scholarship websites (Fastweb
is a great option), and we even applied for a few! We also started our college search: looked through what qualities we liked, location, and other factors. We also started looking into potential majors and careers, which was a huge help for many kids in my class.
We were also introduced to TRFs. A TRF, or tutorial request form, is filled out for tutorial days. A tutorial is a formal study session, where you ask academic questions to help gain a much deeper understanding of a topic. These are usually done twice a week, and you can use problems from your homework or anything you need help with to fill the form out. (As said above, this may vary within schools)
In sophomore year, we still practiced organizational skills, but we dug deeper into all things college: the application process, resume building, essays, financial aid
, and majors. In my class, we had to decide on the types of colleges we want to attend, create a resume, figure out our budgets, and start picking essay topics.
I did presentations on college, ranked colleges I want to apply to, drafted college essays, and started touring colleges in my area. I live in California, so we mostly tour Cal-State and UC schools, but there are colleges everywhere!
I personally believe this is when the class really comes into effect. I’m currently a junior, and I’m pretty sure junior year AVID is a little different than what I’m doing right now due to the circumstances. Junior year is when all of our knowledge about college really comes into play.
We began completing our college essays so we don't have to do them senior year, we apply for scholarships, decide what colleges we want to apply to, complete our four-year plan, and finalize our financial plan.
As a junior, this is when you also tour many more colleges. This is when you really get motivated, because your hard work is about to pay off!
This is when it all comes together. During class, you will have time to be able to apply to colleges, apply for scholarships, and complete the FAFSA
. Also, during this time, you really begin to start planning for your life beyond high school, such as what your future career may be.
This class can show colleges that you are organized and able to commit to a program for four years as well!
Because of this class, I have been able to visit colleges on field trips with my friends, organize my life, and plan my future. Without taking this class, I wouldn’t nearly have the knowledge I know now about college, and I probably would not be as prepared.
I highly recommend taking this class if it is available at your school, especially if you are a first-generation student, or just don’t have much knowledge about college or anything of that sort. It may seem like a lot of work, and it is, but you have to work hard to be successful. In the end, it will be all worth it! (Plus, you get a really cool graduation sash!)