Va. Education Wizard website rolling out to 7th graders this fall

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – The wizard website is a one-stop internet shop designed to help anyone explore options when it comes to higher education and careers. The site is the brainchild of Virginia's Community Colleges Chancellor, who was inspired after booking a vacation.

"It's one place - you do it all in one place," said Dr. Glenn Dubois, Virginia's Community Colleges Chancellor.

Dr. Glenn Dubois was inspired after booking a vacation on a travel website. He liked the ease of being able to see all his options for air travel, hotels, and car rentals in one place.

"I said to my vice chancellor, why can't we do this in higher education for people to explore careers and kind of de-mystify this process and make it really simple," he said.

Thus, Virginia's Education Wizard was born. Congress put $2.5-million toward the project--allowing for the creation of this website where you can research colleges, find out how to pay for them, assess your career skills and interests, and see what jobs are needed in areas you might want to live in. The wizard has been around for about a year now, and more than 300,000 people have visited the site. Now, it's rolling out to an even younger crowd--with 7th graders gearing up to explore college and career possibilities.

"Soon the wizard will be in every middle school and every high school because soon all young people in public schools must develop career plans. 12th grade is no longer the finish line. If you really want to have an independent life and a successful career, you have to go on to college," said Dubois.

The main goal in rolling out the Virginia Education Wizard website to middle schoolers is to get them thinking about college and career options earlier. Right now in this country, almost 70 percent of college freshman are "undecided" on a major. Guided by the avatar Ginny, short for Virginia, students can start planning ahead sooner. That can be important for A.P. or college prep classes in high school.

"With a tool like the wizard, if a student knows that they want to pursue post secondary education, a community college, a 4-year-education or graduate degree, they are going to know early on the courses they can take in 8th and 9th grade that will lead to being able to take dual enrollment in the 10th, 11th, and 12th grade," said Craig Herndon, Virginia Education Wizard Project Director.

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