Equity & Access

Pathway to College

Developed by: Walter Lewis & Lisa Marie Benavides
Subjects:  College Readiness
Estimated Time:  8-week unit, 2 hours per week
Grade Level: 10-11
About This Lesson Plan:
Download the lesson plan and related materials (PDF) →

This lesson plan was inspired by the Post-Secondary Readiness Badge-Enabled Playlists & Pathways project is from the Homewood Children’s Village with Homewood-Brushton YMCA, Higher Achievement, Operation Better Block, and Community College of Allegheny County. Playlists and badges will reinforce the path to post-secondary success by laying out a clear route through high school and towards college or other post-secondary placements.

A key component of this program the HCV Personal Opportunity Plan (POP). The POP is a tool that guides high school students towards high school and post-secondary success. It provides a year by year roadmap for students to understand the important milestones to reach at each stage of high school and the post-secondary planning process. Built around an individual students expressed dreams, the POP documents their journey and progress through SMART goals planning, academic and college-readiness checklists, and exploratory life skill activities. The 150 page booklet is designed for students to work alongside a student advocate. A digital application is currently being explored as an expansion for the POP’s effectiveness, for students, advocates, and parents to utilize.

About Homewood Children’s Village:

Homewood Children’s Village (HCV) is a collaborative comprehensive community initiative modeled after Geoffrey Canada’s internationally acclaimed Harlem Children’s Zone. The mission of the HCV is to improve the lives of Homewood’s Children and to reweave the fabric of the community in which they live.

Pro Tips:

Many high school students don’t have access to high-quality college and career counseling resources. This lesson plan offers a framework for mentors and educators to help high school students develop a structured approach to considering their future pathways. Consider using this lesson plan in any setting where such future-thinking conversations might develop, including afterschool mentoring programs or in-school advisory settings.

Lesson Plan

Initial Questions to consider:

  • Utilize open discussion to identify student knowledge of college to career pathway.
  • Unit is designed for students who self-select to participate.
  • Students will review and refine their work through peer review, open ended questions with staff and self-reflection
  • Students will show their learning through short share outs with each deliverable culminating into the presentation at the end of the unit.
  • Student work is individualized and student led, teachers will have freedom to check in frequently with students not engaged.
  • Each activity builds off previous lessons and includes a teaching portion followed by a independent ‘making’ session. Students have freedom to work at their own pace with the unit designed with room to allow for students working at a slower pace to have time and activities for students who work at a faster pace to have activities.

Activity Plan

  • Complete and discuss 16 personalities assessment
    • To engage all learners, class discussion about the different personalities and how are all of they are all necessary will follow assessment
  • Complete ACT Major Map and discuss potential pathways to career options
  • Students will identify potential careers based off the likes and dislikes identified through the major map on the ACT profile and potential majors to reach that career.
  • Complete College Worksheet from career option
  • Utilize student obstacle map to create short and long term goal.
    •  To include multiple learning styles students will have the option to draw, build (with materials from makers box), or write their obstacles and solutions.
  • Utilizing XQ schools Pay for College tool, create a budget after finding true cost of college.
  • Prepare and deliver a 3-5 minute presentation explaining how the pieces all come together
  1. Open Choosing a College Sheet (PDF) →
  2. Open College Research Worksheet (PDF) →
  3. Open HCV Pathway to College Curriculum for Sprout Fund (PDF) →
  4. Open HCV Sprout Pathway to College Curriculum (PDF) →
  5. Open Potential Career – College Worksheet (PDF) →
  6. Open SMART Goals (PDF) →

Standards, Knowledge, Skills, and Understandings

Content Standards

  • CEW 13.1.11A
  • CEW 13.1.11B
  • CEW 13.1.11F
  • CEW 13.1.11E


  • Overarching Understandings
    • Students will understand that college is a pathway to career choices
  • Related Misconceptions
    • College is unaffordable
    • College is too far to reach

Knowledge: At the end of the unit students will know…

  • What natural abilities/talents they have that can lead them to their career
  • What different types of postsecondary institutions exist

Skills: Students will be able to…

  • plan for and create a budget for college expenses
  • effectively plan a long term goal including problem solving obstacles
  • research a postsecondary institution
  • Use evidence to present their findings
This post is part of the Sharing Connected Learning from Pittsburgh collection.

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