Learn More about Tech at Open House
America’s college attendance rates have been trending up for the last 50 years. In 2015, 69% of graduating seniors were enrolled in college by the following fall. Although we have shifted our national focus on education to include college for everyone, the results of this increase may surprise many parents.
According to a 2012 Harvard study, only 56 percent of the students who enter colleges and universities graduate within six years and only 29 percent of students who enter two-year programs complete their degrees within three years. Additionally, those who make it through will leave school with an average $35,000 student loan debt. When asked why they are attending college, 72% of freshman state it is because they want to earn more money, but determining the career path that works best for them presents additional challenges. Changing majors has become common, with 80% of college students doing so at least once and an average of 3 changes becoming the norm.
Increasing college costs and debt, decreasing completion rates, shifting reasons supporting higher education, and confusion stemming from hundreds of majors spotlights a lacking focus on career exploration at the secondary level. Students need experiences which build knowledge and meaning into their understanding of the world of work and CTE (career and technical education) provides these opportunities.
South Tech high school, south St. Louis County’s CTE provider, offers students experiential learning options in 30 different programs. Our mission is college and career readiness – a commitment to preparing students for the increasing demands of the 21st century workforce and ensuring they are fully prepared for college and careers. CTE is not the vocational education of yesterday and the variety of options for students is much broader. Courses like Pharmacy Science and a Pre-Professional Health Sciences Academy have joined the more traditional offerings of Automotive Technology and Welding. Through real-world classrooms, shadowing, internships, complex projects, clinical rotations, and many other immersive experiences, South Tech students are able to gain an in-depth perspective of many career paths and college majors. So often, high school students make choices about their future based on limited information. This process, called occupational socialization, is influenced by many factors including fellow students, media, parents, and various sources of second-hand information. Our goal is to help students base these decisions on informative experiences in which they can discover where they excel, what motivates them, and what they enjoy doing.
Home schooled, privately educated, and public schooled students who live in St. Louis County are eligible to take classes at Tech free of charge. We are supported through local taxes and our programs are tuition free. Classes begin in the junior year and continue through senior year, with 1.5 high school elective credits awarded each semester. Some programs also offer academic credits and most offer articulated and/or college credits as well. The school’s website lists detailed information about each program and includes additional information about certifications and licenses students can earn which solidify career preparedness.
Students must apply to be considered for classes and we begin accepting applications from students during their sophomore year. Acceptance rounds start in November for classes beginning the following August. All applicants are scored on a rubric that measures GPA, attendance, citizenship, work and volunteer experience. Each round accepts a pre-determined number of students based on highest rubric scoring applications being accepted first. South Tech does maintain waitlists for full programs and continues to notify students of vacancies as they arise.
Our classes are small and most accept no more than 20 students. This allows students to build relationships with their classmates and instructor grounded in mentorship, team building, and a passion for the career’s focus. South Tech alumni often return to the school to visit their teachers and many join our advisory boards after they complete their post-secondary education and begin their careers.
South Tech will hold its fall Open House on November 3rd, 2016 from 4:30pm to 7:30pm. Visitors can tour the school, meet with instructors and advisors, review classwork, and have their questions answered. Applications will also be accepted at this time.