Be Life Ready® is a ready-to-use student success resource that college administrators can utilize to address the academic and career planning needs of those students defined in the new Complete College America’s, College, On Purpose report as lacking purpose while attending college. The Be Life Ready initiative was established in 2016 by college Career Services professionals as a comprehensive, developmental process that evolves throughout a student’s path from the beginning of their college experience until their graduation.
The College, On Purpose report emphasizes that far too many students enter college without a clear sense of their own interests and many of them are unaware of how to align those interests to available majors and career options. The foundation of the Be Life Ready initiative was built upon 9 Keys to Be Life Ready that college administrators can easily replicate as a core strategy for creating an institution-wide environment where students acquire and utilize effective decision-making skills, and are actively engaged in a personalized developmental process that will help them to successfully transition into majors and career choices leading to on-time graduation and a promising career path.
Be Life Ready.Com Supports Existing College Success Initiatives
As a major component of a Purpose First student experience, the Be Life Ready resources can be used to support and enhance any college’s existing efforts focused on ensuring that their students first-year experience is a positive one and that they graduate possessing the life skills they will need to achieve future academic and career success.
College leaders can gain immediate access to all the Be Life Ready resources at belifeready.com. The website includes a detailed description of the 9 Keys to Be Life Ready and a downloadable copy of the 32-page Be Life Ready Guidebook which focuses on common sense approaches and practical information serving as a catalyst to empower all students to reach their full potential.
Be Life Ready Core Values
Colleges who choose to implement a comprehensive student success initiative can use the available Be Life Ready resources to create what Complete College America describes as a “Purpose First” strategy. By incorporating the following core values to support and enhance their existing student services, colleges will be able to ensure that their students first-year experience is a positive one and that every student graduates possessing the life skills needed to achieve future academic and career success:
- Promote an institutional culture focused on implementing a Purpose First strategy where the expectation is every student will graduate on time and be career and life ready.
- Establish a collegewide effort across all departments and divisions that actively engages college faculty and student personnel services staff, students, and employers as stakeholders joining together to foster a positive environment that emphasizes and encourages student success.
- Incorporate the Keys to Be Life Ready terminology into existing orientation and advisement sessions, First-Year Experience and Career Planning courses, and other career exploration related activities and programs to establish a common language throughout the campus that forms the foundation for meaningful, ongoing discussions among college faculty, staff members, and students.
- Create structured opportunities for students to learn how to utilize an effective decision-making process to use when choosing academic and career alternatives to ensure that their most important selection criteria based on prioritized interests, values, and needs are being satisfied.
- Design an advisement strategy that incorporates the use of some type of individualized Success Plan or e-portfolio that includes a student’s academic record plus any self-assessment data needed to better identify their interests and abilities, as well as additional information deemed necessary for making informed educational and career choices that are realistic and achievable.
- Provide students with some type of experiential learning opportunity through participation in a work-based internship, job shadowing, or paid cooperative education experience for students to gain critical work-ready competencies and skills while pursuing their degree.
- Implement a system for students to create personal Success Teams as a way to connect them to all available college resources and support systems to secure assistance from a wide range of individuals, programs, and services to address potential academic and personal obstacles which, if ignored, could lead to failure or dropping out.
- Develop a structured early intervention system in the first year and beyond to engage students who fall behind in credits, skills, and/or attitude toward learning by providing bonding and tutoring activities to improve academic performance and maintain momentum and progress toward on-time graduation.
- Distribute labor market data and the results of graduate follow-up surveys to indicate that a student’s major and career choices produced favorable outcomes. This information serves as a key indicator of the value of a student’s chosen major as it relates to their future career choices and quality of life.
Be Life Ready Tools
The Be Life Ready Guidebook can be used by students and their academic advisors to access and discuss specific tools that address each of the 9 Keys to Be Life Ready. These tools can be used independently by students or in a classroom environment under a teacher’s supervision. Briefly the supportive materials in the Be Life Ready Guidebook include the following:
- A Success Team Inventory identifies potential obstacles that prevent a student from achieving success and identifies individuals or services available on campus to help him or her overcome any of those barriers.
- A Success Planner to use to gather information needed to make important academic, career, and personal decisions.
- The 6-Step Decision-Making Process to help students understand how to make important decisions.
- A description of the 7 most important life-impacting, Big-Ticket Decisions students will need to make that will impact the overall quality of their adult lives.
- The Personal Development Checklist highlighting 24 activities that every student should strive to complete throughout their college experience.
- Three Skills Inventories for students to use each year to identify and build upon their personal/self-management, functional/transferable, and special knowledge skills.
- Sample interview questions to practice answering confidently so students can market themselves positively regardless of the purpose for the interview.
- An explanation of how to find a job that includes the Job Search Formula for students to better understand the connection between their skills and an employer’s reason for creating the job.
- A variety of self-reflection, mentoring, and group discussion questions to stimulate further thoughts regarding each of the 9 Keys to be Life Ready.
- A Pledge for students to commit to accept responsibility and work hard to address the Keys to Be Life Ready throughout their college experience and beyond.
Life Ready Indicators Can Begin the Process of Measuring Student Outcomes
While limited research of life ready skills exists, by assessing student outcomes for each of the Keys to Be Life Ready, colleges can begin the process of creating useful metrics. By measuring each student’s preparation for life using pre-and post-tests, portfolio assessments, and evidence-based methodologies, college leaders can efficiently prove that their students successfully completed a series of developmental tasks to become better prepared to be self-sufficient adults and achieve greater future academic, career, and personal success.
College administrators can utilize the same tools included in the Be Life Ready Guidebook to document that students have successfully addressed the following life ready indicators:
- Establishment of a personal Success Team to address potential obstacles to success.
- Creation of a Success Plan indicating realistic and achievable academic and career goals.
- Documentation of utilization of an effective decision-making process to evaluate and select academic majors, electives, and career alternatives.
- Proven knowledge of life’s most impacting Big-ticket Decisions.
- Completion of 90% of recommended Personal Development Checklist activities.
- Identification of top personal/self-management, functional, and special knowledge skills.
- Proven ability to market oneself and interview positively.
- Understanding of the Job Searching Process and Formula.
Conclusion and Contact Information
Be Life Ready, with the Keys to Be Life Ready as a core strategy, can be a viable option for any college wanting to begin implementing the Purpose First strategy. By utilizing the existing Be Life Ready resources colleges can quickly begin the process of creating positive environments where all students evolve through a personalized developmental process to help them graduate on time, ready to transition into adulthood prepared to achieve higher levels of academic, career, and personal success.
Questions regarding Be Life Ready should be directed to Albert Foderaro, Executive Director, Life Decisions Group, LLC and Be Life Ready Creator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 201-602-5144. Additional information about Life Decisions Group, LLC can be found at www.lifedecisionsgroup.com.