In many cases, high school graduates must choose a college major and career path with little information on job specifics and few opportunities to explore options. Defining a career path is always difficult but especially hard for those just reaching adulthood.

Administrators and faculty at Marian University have years of experience working with students grappling with this issue. To help make the transition from high school to college easier, Marian recently created 100% online Pre-College Program courses designed to help all high school students, grades 9-12 explore potential career options and majors.

These specially-designed courses help reduce the stress of educational and career decision-making. The program provides students with information, advice, and opinions from experts in various fields.

A Mission to Support High School Students

Marian first offered the online Pre-College Program during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing students to earn college credit online while learning about majors and careers in their area of interest. 

“Our mission is to provide access to all high school students, grades 9th through 12th. We want to give them an opportunity to learn more about careers and college through high-value programs available at a low cost,” said Megan Liptow, Director of Freshman Undergraduate Admission at Marian University.

The program met with such success that Marian opened additional sections for each course. “There’s a clear desire among students for information that allows them to make more informed choices. We’ve enrolled students in Wisconsin, from across the United States and Canada,” Liptow said.

How the Pre-College Program Works

Some of the course offerings include the following. We chose to focus on some of the most popular career fields for high school graduates. For each course, Marian University invites expert speakers to advise students about trends and innovations in their respective fields. 

Introduction to Health Professions. Students explore various healthcare careers. Disciplines include nursing, social work, radiologic technology, sonography, exercise and sports science, forensic science, psychology, and therapeutic arts. 

Introduction to Business Professions. Students explore business-related careers such as accounting, economics, finance, health care administration, human resources, management, marketing, operations, and sport and recreation management.

Introduction to Criminal Investigation Professions. Students explore crime-solving techniques, focusing on careers in forensic science, criminal justice, psychology, biology, homeland security, social work, and social justice.

Students earn one college credit per course. For each course a student completes, they receive a $500 annual award toward tuition should they decide to enroll at Marian University.

Benefits of the Pre-College Program

Students take the Pre-College Program courses online through the same convenient online learning system Marian University students use. Each course provides students with critical information and guidance as they determine the next steps in their academic journey.

The courses also benefit high school guidance counselors. The program supports meeting benchmarks in career planning assistance, promoting career development theories, and postsecondary planning. Additionally, the courses help students understand the importance of postsecondary education and training as a pathway to a career.

“At its core, the Pre-College Program meets the university’s mission of providing high-quality courses to as many students as we can reach,” said Liptow. “It’s also an impactful way for Marian to provide a service to students and the greater education community.”