TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter 1. GO Center Design and Philosophy
Starting a Go Center
GO Center Launch Process
GO Center Launch Plan
Chapter 2. GO Center Sponsor
Role of Sponsor
Chapter 3. G-Force
Role of G-Force Members
Developing a G-Force
Chapter 4. Outreach
Statewide Outreach Projects
Local Outreach Projects
Chapter 5. Message
The Benefits of College
Chapter 6. Evaluation
Chapter 7. Strategic Planning
Basic Strategic Planning Concepts
Strategic planning considerations
Chapter 8. Resources
Tips from Current GO Centers
GO Center Sign In Sheet
G-Force Member Information Sheet
GO Center Monthly Report
Memorandum of Understanding
Ideal GO Center Model
Higher Education Legislation Fact Sheet
In 2001, the 77th Legislature adopted Closing the Gaps, a proactive plan designed in part to increase Texans’ participation and success in higher education.
As a result, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board launched College for Texans, a marketing and outreach initiative in 2002 with the slogan “Education. GO Get It.” The goal of the campaign is to enroll 630,000 academically prepared students by 2015, 430,000 beyond the 200,000 expected to attend college at current rates.
Part of the campaign strategy is reaching these students by building strong partnerships in communities across Texas.
As part of this grassroots network, GO Centers are being implemented in communities across the state to help recruit students into higher education.
Initially, GO Centers are being located on high school campuses where they serve as a point of coordination between students, P-12 counselors, and institutions of higher education. At the GO Center, students will find a variety of resources to help them better prepare and plan for college. Middle/High school and Collegiate G-Forces assist students in finding information and exploring options.
This Handbook is designed to help:
Learn how to establish GO Centers in the community.
Recruit new G-Force members.
Support the GO Center and G-Force network.
Mentor G-Force members in their efforts to assist peers in developing the elements required to successfully transition from high school graduation to post-secondary education.
In 2007, the Outreach and Success Advisory Committee recommended a transition plan in which the oversight of GO Centers would be transferred to the institutions of higher education in each individual region in the State of Texas. Therefore, the following GO Center Handbook is being distributed as a training guide to institutions of higher education and their partners to ensure a successful transition. All resources provided (including this handbook) can be modified to fit the needs of individual partnerships between institutions of higher education (IHE) and independent school districts (ISD) or any other organization promoting the college-going message.
GO CENTER DESIGN AND PHILOSOPY
GO Centers are local centers of energy and effort that focus on creating a school-wide college-going culture and promoting college awareness in the surrounding community.
Traditional GO Centers are located in educational settings. They generally are located on high school campuses, but can also be found on middle school and/or college/university campuses.
Satellite GO Centers are located in non-educational settings. These can be found in public libraries, local workforce centers, or community centers.
Mobile GO Centers are, as the name indicates, mobile units outfitted with computers, printers, and internet connectivity. They will travel to a variety of nontraditional settings (i.e., festivals, sporting events, supermarket or mall parking lots, and schools that do not have GO Centers).
While every GO Center is different, they all contain the following common design elements:
A room or space (i.e., section of the library) located on site that is open and accessible.
A GO Center Sponsor.
Racks that contain college catalogs, pamphlets, and other college related printed materials.
Shelving or drawers that contain stacks of printed forms for various scholarships, financial aid, school admissions or other programs that require the submission of an application.
Posters or banners on the walls promoting various education related topics, programs or institutions.
Display Area/Board (for display Calendar of Events, College Fairs, Important Test Dates).
Increasing college enrollment rates is a matter of changing cultural norms. Effective strategies designed to change cultural norms must include the development of a system that uses positive peer pressure. The body of research on peer education clearly shows that the messenger may be more influential than the message. For this reason, GO Centers rely heavily on the creation of peer educators, known as G-Force, to carry the college-going message to their peers.
Another reason for utilizing peer educators is the need to maximize limited resources at the local level. School counselors typically shoulder the majority of the workload of providing assistance to students interested in pursuing post-secondary education. These individuals are typically responsible for a variety of other functions in the school as well. The establishment of a network of peer educators allows the counselor to meet the specific needs of more students as the peer educators assist students with the more general aspects of the college awareness and enrollment process.
NOTE: G-Force members are NOT counselors, they are simply facilitators of the process who provide very general information, motivate students to act on that information, help them get started in the process and then refer them to the appropriate resource person for more difficult issues. When peer mentors are able to answer many of the more general questions, the counselor can focus on more difficult issues.
Starting a GO Center
There are only a few requirements for opening a Traditional GO Center on a middle/high school campus.
Obtain appropriate approval from the school district and principal.
Secure a school faculty or staff member to be the GO Center sponsor.
Designate a physical site on campus. This site does not have to be in its own room, but there must be a designated space for at least two computers and resource materials.
Provide at least two dedicated computers with Internet access with either a link on the home page or setting the home page to www.CollegeForTexans.com.
Recruit students to become G-Force members.
Set up training via IHE or designated trainer for G-Force members and sponsor.
Making a GO Center Official
A sample Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is attached and is provided in Chapter 8, pp. 34-36. The MOU can be modified to fit the needs of a particular partnership between an IHE and ISD. To be an officially recognized GO Center, the IHE and ISD are asked to formalize the partnership by signing the agreed upon MOU and retaining a copy for their record. The IHE will submit an annual Uniform and Recruitment Strategies report regarding the success of GO Centers to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
Setting up your Go Center
Branding items are available for new GO Centers once they are officially recognized. These items are to be used to designate the primary GO Center on campus. It is up to you to decide how you will arrange your GO Center. A typical GO Center will contain the following:
Desks/tables and chairs
At least two computers (Desktop PC , Notebook or Laptop) connected to the Internet1 (three or more would be optimal)
Computer (Desktop PC/Laptop/Notebook) minimum requirements:
Pentium III (or better)
512mb of RAM (or better)
40GB hard drive (or better)
48X CD-RW drive
Windows XP Professional Operating System
Word Processing Software
Shelves with FAFSA forms, Apply Texas Application, and other items
Sign in area.
GO Center Resources
Financial aid information
Posters promoting higher education
College posters and pennants
Resources to help guide students in choosing the right college
Resources to help students find their interests when choosing a major
GO Center Launch Process
Launch Check List
GO Center location
Active High School G-Force Members
Invitation and Promotional Materials
G-Force members should get together and create a Mission Statement for the GO Center.
A mission statement should be a short, clear, concise statement that describes the purpose of the GO Center.
Example of a mission statement
“The mission of the GO Center is to significantly increase the number of students who are prepared to enter and succeed in post-secondary education.”
–McAllen Memorial High School
Process of Writing a Mission Statement
Set a launch date and time
Start with campus calendar
Speak to principal
Keep in mind work schedules, after school activities, testing dates
Begin promoting as soon as possible: call/e-mail/fax information weeks in advance of the launch.
Distribute promotional material (fliers, postcards, pamphlets) on campus and in the community
Contact the school paper (if applicable)
Make an announcement to the entire school
Contact local newspapers, T.V., and/or radio stations to cover the launch
Work closely with Collegiate G-Force Members and/or local higher education institutions
Note: It is helpful to try to get donations for gifts or gift certificates for door prizes—this attracts more people (parents, students, and others) to attend the launch. Also, try to get donations for refreshments to be served on the day of the launch. Remember it’s your GO CENTER and your LAUNCH!!!
Go Center Sponsor
A GO Center Sponsor provides direct support and assistance to G-Force Members and promotes the college-going message to other professional staff.
Role of GO Center Sponsor
Based on initial evaluations of GO Centers, the GO Center Sponsor is the most critical piece in creating a successful Center. Because of this, the Sponsor must believe in the GO Center and its purpose. If the Sponsor shows little or no interest, the students may also show little or no interest.
The responsibilities of the Sponsor include the following:
Promote higher education to every student!
Assist students with researching career, financial aid, and higher education options.
Fulfill administrative duties that G-Force members, as students, may not be allowed to do (i.e., matters involving confidentiality, academic or guidance counseling, etc.).
Recruit and organize G-Force members.
Motivate your G-Force members.
Assist G-Force members with preparing, launching and running the GO Center.
Plan or coordinate activities related to creating a college going culture (often done in collaboration with P-16 Field Specialist).
NOTE: Planning and carrying out the GO Center activities should not be the sole responsibility of the Sponsor. This is where recruitment of an active G-Force is essential.
Have a schedule indicating hours of operation
Have a schedule indicating the hours High School G-Force members
will be volunteering at the GO Centers
Have goals to be accomplished throughout the academic school year
classrooms, cafetorium, or community center
Remember to use Middle School, High School and/or Collegiate G-Force
Members to help with presentations
Research free resources
Order resources for GO Center
Document your Success
Sign-in sheets for students—always have a sign-in sheet at the GO Center
and have all students sign in
Keep a log of G-Force volunteer work
Document every event held with sign-in sheets
Take pictures of events, G-Force members in action, etc.
G-Force is a network of students/volunteers committed to achieving a college-going culture by supporting GO Center efforts.
Role of G-Force Members
Students often need help to maintain the momentum required by the college preparation process to complete their quest to enter college. G-Force members help create the drive in other students to go to college. G-Force members raise awareness among students and their families on the value of a higher education, show them how to prepare for college both academically and financially, and motivate students to successfully pursue higher education.
The G-Force is a key element of the GO Center. The most successful GO Centers will place the students in a leadership role. The commitment level of the members to the GO Center will be directly proportional to the level of ownership they feel.
Middle School and High School G-Force Requirements
1. Pursue Recommended High School Curriculum (High School only)
2. Maintain an 80% grade average*
3. Maintain a 95% attendance rate
4. Commit to the creation of a college-going culture
* The 80% average pertains to the student’s grade average once he/she has entered the G-Force. Many of the targeted students will not have 80% averages initially. However, these students can have the greatest impact on their peers. The 80% requirement begins with the grades subsequent to the student joining the G-force.
Collegiate G-Force Requirements
Currently there are over 60 Texas post-secondary education institutions that have established Collegiate G-Force chapters on their campuses. The purpose of these chapters is to serve as a point of coordination and deployment of campus resources that can serve Go Centers in surrounding communities. Each institution has established a student organization on their campus known as G-Force which includes officers.
Requirements for being a member of a Collegiate G-Force vary per institution. To determine the requirements of collegiate G-Force member at any specific institution, contact the G-Force sponsor for that institution.