Category Archives: COLLEGE READINESS

Preschoolers Explore Careers at MEC’s Health Education Day

Sixty preschoolers enrolled at Annandale Christian Community for Action’s (ACCA) Child Development Center visited the Medical Education Campus (MEC) on August 10 for a full day of interactive learning about nutrition, healthy eating habits and health care careers.


ACCA, a preschool center serving diverse and low-income families in the Northern Virginia area, partnered with the MEC to offer children, ages 3 to 5, a learning experience referred to as Health Education Day. The event was a first for MEC nursing student volunteers who facilitated the activities and earned pediatric clinical hours toward their graduation requirements. ACCA instructors and parent volunteers assisted while children participated in several activity stations related to hand-washing and healthy snack preparation, health care professions, exercise/active play and body tracing, creating a paper silhouette of each child. Each child learned how to properly brush their teeth, identify parts of the body and had the chance to dress up in costumes as nurses and doctors to gain insight into what it means to treat patients.


ACCA Child Development Center Executive Director Maria Isabel Ballivian said her organization partnered with NOVA’s Dual Generational Pathways to assist in the process of enhancing post-secondary educational attainment of low-income families and early childhood care providers.

The partnership has led to introducing college activities to children enrolled in the ACCA program through Pathways’ Crayons-to-College field trip initiative. For the past three years, Dual Generational Pathways has partnered with ACCA, Hopkins House and Northern Virginia Family Services Head Start preschool centers to offer day trips to NOVA campuses.

“Health Education Day was a wonderful way for the nursing students and faculty at the MEC to help our children become more comfortable with interacting with nurses in a medical environment,” Ballivian said. “It’s very inspirational for our children to visit an institution like the MEC. This experience will leave a lasting impression in their minds that could lead to them exploring what they want to be when they grow up.”

Laura Thomas, an ACCA parent said she was eager to attend Health Education Day with her 5- year-old daughter Zahra. As a 2008 NOVA graduate, Thomas attributed her success in becoming a registered nurse to the quality education she received while enrolled in the nursing program at the MEC.

“I thought this was an amazing opportunity for our children to learn more about what it means to work in health care,” Thomas said. “My daughter has always been fascinated with wanting to be a nurse when she grows up. Out of all the field trips I usually attend with my daughter, I was particularly excited to visit the MEC and show her where I went to school and earned my degree. NOVA has truly changed my life and I wanted to share this experience with her.”

For interest in becoming a community partner or additional information on NOVA’s Dual Generational Pathways initiative, visit their website.

***Article written by Michelle Chaudoir at NOVA’s Medical Education Center.

Parent Tips and Tricks for College Readiness

With a few simple steps, your child can be college bound! Help set your child up for a bright future in college with these tips and tricks:

 Meet with your son’s or daughter’s school counselor at least once a year.

 Keep track of your child’s grades. Every class counts!

 Make sure they’re taking the right college entrance tests.

 Fill out forms they need to get scholarships and grants.

 For more information about how to help your child plan for college and beyond:

This site gives you information and instruction for filling out the free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Use the “forecaster” to get an early estimate of your child’s eligibility for federal student aid.

Virginia Wizard ( 
The Wizard can help students understand their skills and interests, choose a career, and find a college that offers the program they need to pursue their career goals.

This site provides a listing of public and private 2-and 4- year colleges and universities in Virginia, financial aid resources, and more.

Questions about other ways you can help  your child prepare for a bright future at college? Contact your Adult Career Pathways advisor/counselor to get more information.

Why Parents Should Make College A Goal For Their Children

As summer draws to a close, many small children are about to trek off to preschool or kindergarten for the first time. You’ve probably heard the phrase “Education is the key to your future.” Maybe you have even said it yourself! There are untold benefits from continuing your education after high school, including more career options, higher career satisfaction, and higher pay. Even though preschool and kindergarten students are very young, it’s always a good idea to start talking about education goals early!


A 2013 study done by the College Board reports that in addition to higher pay, college graduates are more likely to have health coverage by their employer and pension benefits. According to the study, in 2011, employers provided health insurance to 69% of full time workers with bachelor’s degrees compared to the 55% of full time workers who only had a high school diploma.

The College Board also reports that 51% of workers (age 30-45) with a bachelor’s degree or higher report being very satisfied with their jobs. Compare that to the 42% who have no high school diploma and the 47% who have a high school diploma!

The same study claims that the median lifetime earnings of those with an associate degree and those with some college education but no degree (such as certificate holders) are 27% and 13% higher than the median earnings of high school graduates. The same study also states that college graduates are less likely to smoke, and families of college-educated parents are less likely to be obese.

With benefits like these, it makes sense that you would want to encourage your children to go to college! Sharing the opportunities that a college education can bring is a great way to introduce the idea of college to a child!

Read more about how to introduce the idea of going to college to your child in this blog post HERE.

How To Introduce College As A Goal For Children

You are probably aware of the numerous benefits of a college education. People with college degrees typically make more money than those who only graduated high school. Graduates report a higher rate of job satisfaction. In addition to these, many college graduates lead healthier lifestyles. With benefits like these, it’s never too early to introduce college to your kids!

The first eight years of your child’s education will provide them with fundamental skills and knowledge. Admittedly, some of these lessons might not be very exciting. However, this knowledge can open him or her up areas they find particularly engaging or interesting! When your child finds something like this, you can tell him or her about jobs that specialize in those areas, or about how much more they could learn about it if he or she goes to college!

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You can also ask your child what he or she wants to be as a grown up. Even if you get a different answer every week, you can still point out that many jobs require a college degree. You can gently tell your child that even zookeepers have to take special classes to know how to take care of the animals at the zoo.

Another way you can introduce the idea of college to a young child is to read to him or her often! Not only will this stimulate your child’s imagination, but if he or she asks questions, it can be an opportunity for you to share resources like the dictionary or encyclopedia. Showing your child how to look things up will provide a nice foundation for research later on in life!

Getting your child excited about college is very important! It will help to establish academic routines that will be helpful in the future.

Our Crayons To College field trip for preschool students is one of the cornerstone initiatives of the Dual Generational Pathways program. This field trip takes young students at local community preschools on a tour of NOVA, with fun stops at locations like the cafeteria, library, and theater. Students love being a part of campus for the day, and it is our hope that the Crayons to College trip will spark an interest in college that will continue to grow over time.