College Awareness-Readiness Curriculum

The College Awareness-Readiness Curriculum (CARC) is a series of four 90-minute lessons for learners enrolled in Adult Basic Education, GED, and higher-level ESOL. The curriculum was designed to engage adult learners in a series of classroom exercises to help them better understand the value and accessibility of higher education and vocational training programs, and to identify the skills and steps necessary to transition to college and/or a vocational training program. It was developed by some member programs of the Juntos Collaborative of regional adult education providers as a tool to increase referrals from surrounding ABE programs to the transition to college program within the greater Holyoke area.

When adults in Adult Basic Education classes are asked: “Why do you want to speak English better?,” “Why do you want to get a GED?” the most common response is: “To get a job” or “To get a better job.” The College Awareness-Readiness Curriculum encourages ABE programs and ABE classroom teachers to challenge the assumption held by many GED and ESOL students that, once they pass the GED, or speak English more fluently, life will suddenly change for the better because there will be many more job opportunities open to them. Too often GED graduates and ESOL students who have attained a high-intermediate/low-advanced English speaking proficiency find that there are not as many jobs open to them as they thought, and that many of the jobs available to individuals graduating from the ABE system pay minimum wages that do not support families.

The CARC is a useful tool for ABE programs to use to help adult learners begin to identify the components of their career pathway. Teachers have found the curriculum easy to use, and have been able to adapt to their own teaching style and needs of particular groups. The CARC can also be the foundation for a deeper investigation into how a program can prepare students to be ready for a transition class. The Ludlow Adult Education Program has made a conscious effort to align its reading and writing curriculum with the Bridge program, so that students will be prepared for a successful transition and are beginning to do the same for math.

The participating programs have found that the number of students who express an interest in college has risen dramatically as a result of this curriculum. That doesn’t mean they will all end up in college, but at least at some point the possibility has opened up for them. And the collaborative is seeing more students transitioning to college.

Download: College Awareness-Readiness Curriculum [PDF]

Elia Dreyfuss
ABE Transition to College & Careers
Holyoke Community College
Holyoke, MA

Kermit Dunkelberg
Ludlow Area Adult Learning Center
Holyoke Community College
Ludlow, MA

Robin L. Hodgkinson
Community Education Project
Holyoke, MA