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Path to College Readiness Begins with a Plan

by Kaye Orten, Estes Valley Library Board of Trustees

Four years ago, the Estes Valley Library took a big step in expanding services for teens in our community. They had been an underserved population at the library. Through active listening and feedback, you affirmed for us that programs to meet the learning and literacy needs of young people was a priority.

There is still work to do, but we’ve made some great strides while strengthening key community partnerships, including those with the Estes Park School District and Eagle Rock School.

One objective is to assist young people in accessing the resources they need for college readiness and career planning. We want to set our young people up for success by giving them, and their parents, the tools they need to make informed decisions and feel confident.

As someone with a long career in college administration, that is why it’s been particularly fulfilling to work with local youth as they explore their options for college. I enjoy working with them, both one-on-one and in workshops offered several times each year.

If you’re a young person exploring a pathway to college, or you know someone who is, all are encouraged to register for our next session: “Creating a Path to College Readiness” on Wednesday, April 4 at 6:00 pm at Estes Park High School. On behalf of the library, I’ll be joined by High School Counselor Hannah Heckerson. Whether you’re a student or parent, and whether attending EPHS, Eagle Rock School, or homeschooled, all are welcome. It’s easy to sign up at

No matter where you’re at in the process, this workshop will help students and parents develop and refine that all-important, essential goal: having a plan.

Did you know that there are more than 4000 different colleges and universities out there? And you thought shopping for toothpaste was confusing!

Anxiety may be inevitable, but too much stress is a roadblock to good strategizing. Let go of the worry and find a way to enjoy college planning as an exciting process..

Students can work through their personal checklist of what is most important. Location? Choice of majors? Large or small campus? Extracurricular activities they might enjoy? It’s different for everyone.

During junior and senior years, many students benefit from a personal visit to prospective college campuses. There, they gain a sense of what life might be like within that particular campus community. By the beginning of senior year, students are usually ready to narrow down their choices.

On April 4, we’ll also explore topics including the application process, FAFSA, paying for college, and testing.

In addition to next Wednesday’s workshop, I am available at the library many times during the week to meet with students and/or parents through the library’s Book-a-College-Planner program. Simply visit the Library’s online calendar, look for “College Planning 1:1” listings, and register for a time convenient for you.

College planning can—and should—be exciting. We’re happy to help our local young people find their pathways to success and happiness.