Presentation is Preparing Students for Success
By Meghan Fay, Assistant Editor

What makes one high school student more successful than another? What makes one college graduate more attractive to an employer than another? According to the Making High School Count and Making College Count programs the difference is all about the choices students make while in high school and college. 

Mary Ann Willis, a College Counselor at Bayside Academy in Daphne, Alabama, whose school has had both programs, agrees. “It’s reinforcement from the real world,” she said. “The program basically lets students know that they’re in charge and that they have to steer the ship,” said Willis. 

Making High School Count and Making College Count, student-interactive presentations, are helping thousands of students nationwide achieve success by presenting winning strategies to attack school with the right attitude. Developed to reinforce the motivating efforts of school counselors and teachers, Making High School Count provides freshmen with information on how to make the most of their high school experience; while Making College Count helps seniors understand how to effectively concentrate on academics, extracurricular activities and work experience to make the most of their college experience.

According to Charles Knippen, Program Manager of the Making High School Count programs, although the programs take messages that counselors and teachers have been giving students for some reason having a third party come in makes the messages click for the students. 

Knippen believes that one of the key reasons for the programs success is the presenters don’t tell students what they have to do, rather they explain “the choices you can make, the things you can do.” 

Currently, one of the only national programs is offered free-of-charge to schools. Making High School Count and Making College Count has reached over 400,000 students this school year and is scheduled to reach 2.6 million students next fall. “We provide a resource to help high school students make the most out of their high school and college experiences,” said Knippen.

The messages presented to students are based on Patrick O’Brien’s book Making College Count: A Real World Look At How to Succeed In and After College. “The idea for the book and the program came from a conversation he had with his sister about college,” said Knippen. 

Those who have experienced the program believe that it empowers students while impressing upon them that they have the capacity to build on something. According to Willis, the best college applications happen in the freshmen year with an actively engaged learner who is significantly immersed not only in studies, but also in his school and community. “With each step in high school, a new opportunity arises and [the] message of taking charge of one’s destiny empowers students to accept responsibility for themselves and to know that all of life’s options are about choices, responsibilities and consequences,” said Willis.

According to Knippen, one of the messages the program tries to impart to students is that school is a full time job, specifically in college and students need to develop the 9 to 5 mentality. In college, if students commit themselves to the 40 hours per week of work they can break school down into 16 hours of class with 24 hours left as potential study hours. “Universally we give the message of success and empowerment,” said Knippen, who believes that freshman year, regardless of whether its in high school or college, serves as a students springboard for success.

Making High School Count and Making College Count were both programs of Student Success, which has recently merged with College Link, the online college application service. According to Knippen, the affiliations College Link has with colleges and universities combined with the affiliations Student Success has with high schools has increased the merger is a perfect fit for both entities. It has increased the amount of resources the Making High School and College Count programs have. 

If you’re wondering whether or not to make room in your school calendar for these programs, Willis recommends that you do. “Every school should do this,” said Willis. “It’s a great resource.”

Charles Knippen, Program Manager of the Making High School Count programs
Mary Ann Willis, a College Counselor at Bay Side Academy in Daphne, Alabama
159 Burgin Parkway | Quincy, MA 02169
617-471-4445 | Fax 617-770-3339