Webb Students Visit Alternative College

Webb Middle School VPL students took a field trip across the street from their campus to Peloton University inside the For the City Center. The students met with a group of staff and PelotonU students to learn more about the a college advancement organization that provides targeted support to non-traditional students pursuing online education.At PelotonU, students enroll in high-quality online degree programs and are provided with a space where they can study and receive additional tutoring and mentorship as needed.

Students completed an ice-breaker activity, higher education myth-busting, interview speed-dating about community needs and education and a college Q&&A session. PelotonU staff and students learned about the Webb students through interview questions on their strengths, proudest accomplishments and what inspires them to serve others. This opened a forum for Webb students to vocalize their dreams of going to business school and their achievements such as learning sign language, as well as learn from PelotonU students about their own experiences.

PelotonU staff led a round of trivia about college completion and affordability. Students earned popsicles based on their knowledge of the reality of higher education, including barriers to access and completion. A few things they learned through trivia include:
– If 6 in 10 high school graduates enrolled in college, ½ of those students will graduate.
-True or false: If you earn a college degree, you will make 1 million dollars over the span of a 40 year career vs if you only have a high school degree. (True)
-An average year of tuition at UT is about $26,000. Both Javier and Brianna are attending College for America at Southern NH University (high-quality online program) and their year tuition is about $2,500.

Hudson, the PelotonU Executive Director, asked the students why they think that people do not make it through college; Webb students provided various answers surrounding money, time and lack of support. PelotonU supports students pursuing affordable and accredited online education in ways they wouldn’t normally be supported and provides a space where they can be surrounded by other driven students in similar situations. Samantha, who used to work as a college advisor and now supports Peloton U students, explained that you spend less time in class but you tend to have more time intensive homework.

With a comfort level established by the ice-breaker and interview speed-dating, the students eagerly asked questions about differences between colleges and universities, private and public schools, two and four-year degrees, and part-time vs full-time course loads. The PelotonU staff and students answered these questions, drawing on real-life examples, and took the time to explain advantages and disadvantages of all of the choices associated with attending college. In a short visit, the VPL students absorbed a wealth of information and questions to consider about the many paths to higher education they didn’t know about before.

Thank you to Boys & Girls Club who works in conjunction with UWATX to provide the afterschool Volunteer Project Leader club for Webb students and PelotonU for letting us visit their campus.