Why Success Quest?

Most high school students feel unprepared for the transition from student to adult. A survey of 165,000 high school students reveals that less than half of students feel confident in their readiness for college or a career (YouthTruth, 2015). Further academic research suggests that students who develop personal and professional goals are more likely to be/feel prepared for adulthood (Phillips, et al., 2002).

Additional points emerged from our first six months of inquiry into the student-adult transition: Many high schools are focused on the present (attendance and grades), not the future (career paths and work skills). Students who have future goals or affinities were exposed to those interests by someone close to them (e.g. family, peers, mentors). Students who experience socioeconomic, intellectual, or physical barriers are less likely to be exposed to the opportunities and information that would help them develop those goals. Finally, students learn best by being able to relate to role models and mentors and by participating themselves.

Muncie, Ind., offers a variety of local programs and opportunities that allow students to explore their interests and develop skills, but many of these programs have at least one barrier to entry. Some programs are restricted to certain ages, income levels, available resources, or other limiting factors. Our project strives to tap into the collective knowledge of the Muncie community so we may develop a project that can serve and appeal to all high school students in this area. We pose the question “How might we use the collective expertise of the community to help high school students transition to adulthood?”

Five key themes form the backbone of our work. To be beneficial to our audience of high school students, our project addresses the themes of job search & career path, personal finance, independent living skills & goals, healthy families & relationships, and embracing community resources.

To build this project, we use a user-centered design approach that allows us to involve local high school and college students throughout our research, building, and testing phases to tailor the project to the needs of our specific audience.

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