Successful Transition to Post Secondary

"It is not your aptitude, but your attitude, that determines your altitude."
Zig Ziglar


Are You College Bound?

Beginning in 2013, legislation requires ninth graders to “explore their educational, college, and career interests, aptitudes, and aspirations and develop a plan for a smooth and successful transition to postsecondary education or employment.” ( – Minnesota Statutes, section 120B.125)

According to the statute, all students' plans must:

(1) provide a comprehensive plan to prepare for and complete a career and college ready curriculum by meeting state and local academic standards and developing career and employment-related skills such as teamwork, collaboration, creativity, communication, critical thinking, and good work habits;

(2) emphasize academic rigor and high expectations;

(3) help students identify interests, aptitudes, aspirations, and personal learning styles that may affect their career and college ready goals and postsecondary education and employment choices;

(4) set appropriate career and college ready goals with timelines that identify effective means for achieving those goals;

(5) help students access education and career options;

(6) integrate strong academic content into career-focused courses and applied and experiential learning opportunities and integrate relevant career-focused courses and applied and experiential learning opportunities into strong academic content;

(7) help identify and access appropriate counseling and other supports and assistance that enable students to complete required coursework, prepare for postsecondary education and careers, and obtain information about postsecondary education costs and eligibility for financial aid and scholarship;

(8) help identify collaborative partnerships among prekindergarten through grade 12 schools, postsecondary institutions, economic development agencies, and local and regional employers that support students' transition to postsecondary education and employment and provide students with applied and experiential learning opportunities; and

(9) be reviewed and revised at least annually by the student, the student's parent/guardian, and the school or district to ensure that the student's course-taking schedule keeps the student making adequate progress to meet state and local academic standards and high school graduation requirements and with a reasonable chance to succeed with employment or postsecondary education without the need to first complete remedial course work.(

What is Our Plan?

To help students discover their postsecondary path, we provide the following for our students and families:

1. Ramp Up to Readiness Program – NEST & College Prep Class

The FAIR School was accepted to be part of the University of Minnesota’s RAMP-UP to Readiness Network. Ramp-Up was developed as a school-wide guidance program to assist students in grades 6 through 12 reach the following goals by the end of high school:

  • Academic Readiness
  • Admissions Readiness
  • Career Readiness
  • Financial Readiness
  • Personal and Social Readiness

All high school students have NEST, a 30-minute class once a week to complete the 28 core lessons. In NEST, students learn about financial aid information, scholarships, ACT test prep, and resume writing.

As freshmen and sophomores, students assess their levels of readiness for postsecondary education and take steps to close the readiness gaps. Sophomores take the ACT Plan test to help identify career and college preparedness.

Juniors have College Prep course for 48-minutes every day for a semester. They develop concrete action plans for choosing, gaining admission to, and paying for study at a postsecondary institution that will advance career and personal goals. Students go over planning for college admissions and the application process, college entrance exams (SAT Subject Tests), information on two- and four-year programs and future planning, financial aid, military programs, transcripts, Naviance, career options, scholarships, and free resources. 

The curriculum for seniors emphasizes putting it all together to take the essential steps for moving from high school to higher education. Students in 12th grade are met with on an individual basis to check in and guide on individual plans/needs. 

Ramp-Up/NEST is intended to help all students embrace rigor, gain access, maintain motivation, and practice persistence. The program is based on research and a variety of studies. For more information go to

2. Postsecondary Enrollment Options

The State of Minnesota’s Post Secondary Education Option Program (PSEO) enables high school junior and senior students to take classes at any Minnesota college while still in high school. The state covers the cost of tuition and books. Credit is earned at the high school and college level upon successful completion of the course. Students can take college courses part or full-time at a postsecondary institution as PSEO students. Post secondary institutions offer courses on their campus and online.

Students in grades tenth, eleventh, and twelfth are eligible for this program. Each college and/or university that  offers PSEO sets their own requirements for enrollment into the program. As a general rule, successful PSEO students are in the top 30% of the junior class or the top 50% of their senior class. School districts do not make this determination. Tenth graders can take one career and technical education course each semester through PSEO if they passed the 8th grade MCA reading test.

Students at FAIR Downtown have successfully completed coursework at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and Morris, Concordia College, St. Cloud State University, and Minneapolis Community & Technical College. Each university adheres to their own deadlines for application and acceptance. In addition, students can attend the Minneapolis College of Art and Design to pursue college level arts courses. During the 2014-2015 school year, FAIR has 16% of its juniors and 45% of its seniors enrolled in part-time or full-time PSEO.

3. Naviance Family Connection Portal

We use Naviance to help ninth graders and families connect academic achievement to postsecondary goals. Through self discovery and collaboration with parents/guardians, teachers and school counselors, Naviance helps students be better prepared for attending college and/or joining the workforce. The Naviance Family Connection portal provides students and families with a variety of tools designed to connect learning to life.

4. ACT Prep

WMEP offers ACT Prep through our FAIR + program, where students can take a class to prepare for the standardized test. In addition, through the Naviance Family Connection portal, students may prepare for both the SAT and ACT online.

5. College Preparation Night

The FAIR School offers opportunities for families to learn to navigate the college application process. In the fall, we host a College Preparation Night for twelfth graders and parents/guardians to:

  • Receive a Postsecondary Planning Handbook  
  • Understand Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and options for financial planning
  • Learn about the college application process
  • Utilize Naviance Family Connection portal to its best potential

The Postsecondary Planning Handbook helps navigate the process (college applications, scholarships, financial aid, and college decisions) for two- and four-year colleges. There is also information for students pursuing opportunities in the military, apprenticeships, internships, and structure Gap Year programs.

6. Families Matter

Through our parent/guardian education workshops and classes, families gain the information and knowledge needed to navigate the K-12 and postsecondary educational systems. Although workshops are developed grade specific, sometimes elementary and middle school parents/guardians sign up for high school classes to be informed as to what is coming down the line.

7. Testing

  1. ACT Explore helps eighth graders explore a broad range of options for their future.
  2. ACT Plan helps tenth graders build a solid foundation for future academic and career success.
  3. Tenth and eleventh graders take the PSAT, a standardized test cosponsored by the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation. It also is used in consideration for the National Merit Scholarship.
  4. Advanced Placement (AP) and College Level Equivalency Program (CLEP) exams are taken by some tenth and eleventh graders in order to gain college credit in high school.
  5. ACT, SAT, and/or SAT Subject Tests are taken by students to help with college admission, and strong scores on subject tests can result in college credit.
  6. Personality type indicator and career interest profile tests are taken in ninth grade during NEST.
To see our Assessment Calendar, click here.