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How mock interviews support career readiness for high schoolers

For students in our Career Readiness Academy, mock interviews are more than just a practice run – they’re a safe space to explore their potential, polish their skills and practice professional communication.

In today’s fast-paced world where first impressions can make or break opportunities, these workshops help students build confidence and prepare for real-world challenges ahead. They also offer a unique opportunity for volunteers to engage with the next generation, sharing their expertise and learning in the process.

Thank you to all of our volunteers! These workshops rely on people like you donating your time and talent. We appreciate you, and so do these students!


More workshop photos can be found at the end of this story.

The mock interview experience

Participating in mock interviews can be a transformative experience for students. It’s during these three 7-minute interviews that they learn the subtle art of making eye contact, the importance of speaking confidently about their achievements, and how to navigate common interview questions.

I loved the workshop, as it progressed I gained confidence and it became much easier.

– Laura M., BVSD student

Students often start the workshop with a mix of excitement and nervousness, but as they engage in simulated interviews, receive feedback, and observe their peers, a profound change occurs. They leave the workshop not just with enhanced interview skills, but a newfound confidence in their ability to communicate their ideas and aspirations.

I really liked how many different interviewers there were to get multiple perspectives. 

– Henry D., BVSD Student

Our workshop volunteers bring diverse professional backgrounds to the experience and also find the workshops to be rewarding. Volunteers witness firsthand the eagerness and potential of the students and get to provide constructive feedback and share insights from their own experiences. The workshops are a reminder of the diverse paths to success and the importance of guidance and encouragement in shaping young careers.

Laying the groundwork for success

Mock interviews are just one of 10 workshops that make up the Career Readiness Academy, helping ensure students are adequately prepared for the interviews. Before this workshop students have explored their purpose and passions, learned about possible careers and BVSD opportunities that can support them, and practiced professional communication and interview skills.

One of the most important steps students take during the Career Readiness Academy is creating a resume. 

[I was surprised] how much they progressed from the first round to the third round of interviews. And how well prepared their resumes were!

– Erika W., Mock Interview Volunteer

Learning how to highlight their skills, experiences and achievements prepares them for the immediate task of presenting themselves professionally, but also instills a sense of confidence and self-awareness. 

More than just interview skills

For students these workshops extend beyond the goal of improving interview skills – the feedback and process often sparks self-reflection and personal growth. They also serve as a platform for networking, allowing students to connect with professionals who can offer guidance, mentorship, and sometimes even opportunities for internships or jobs.

The experience was eye-opening around what I thought I knew about teenagers. It was positive and exciting to learn more about IOE, and the volunteer team was energized, positive, and varied, which was great to experience and be part of.

– Emily T., Mock Interview Volunteer

[I enjoyed] the variety and the opportunity to speak to the kids. I never find myself interacting with students in that age group so it was a lovely step out of my norm.

– Kyle A., Mock Interview Volunteer

For volunteers the experience is equally enriching. Engaging with students allows them to give back to the community in a meaningful way, sharing their knowledge and experiences to help shape the workforce of tomorrow. It also offers them a fresh perspective on the challenges and aspirations of this younger generation.

A foundation for future success

Mock interview workshops show the value of practical, experiential learning.They underscore the importance of preparation, practice, and feedback in finding professional success, and offer both students and volunteers an invaluable experience that resonates long after the interviews are over.

Hearing the students describe what they learned from the interviews was the best part!

– Erika W., Mock Interview Volunteer

Through all of the Career Readiness Academy workshops, the journey of career exploration and personal growth goes hand in hand, laying a solid foundation for future success.

Photo Gallery

Click on any photo below to enlarge.

BEFORE YOU GO

Impact on Education is an independent non-profit supporting the Boulder Valley School District. We depend on the support of our community to put our mission into action. Will you help us provide opportunities and resources to marginalized students across the Boulder Valley School District?

Providing BVSD students access to college and career opportunities

Navigating the future with confidence and the right set of skills is crucial for today’s students. And it’s why we provide access to college and career readiness opportunities, helping Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) students get ahead in their academic and professional journeys.

Since the beginning, we’ve partnered with BVSD to create and implement the GradPlus Framework, helping students prepare for their futures, opening doors to work-based learning and industry certifications and providing opportunities to earn college credit and a Seal of Biliteracy.

Some of these opportunities – including advanced courses and concurrent enrollment – require fees that make them inaccessible to students from low-income families. But there are four ways – in addition to our Career Readiness Academy – that Impact on Education helps students with financial need access these post-secondary readiness initiatives across BVSD:

Student test fees

The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) is a credit-by-examination program that measures a student’s level of comprehension of introductory college-level material and consecutively earns college credit. While a few students take tests in math and science, for our students who speak a second language, the CLEP language proficiency tests allow them to earn college credit by taking a written and oral language test. Test fees are only $90 and students can earn up to 16 college credits, so Impact on Education has offered to cover these test fees for any student who is eligible for free and reduced lunch – what a valuable opportunity!

Students who pass the exam also become  eligible for Colorado Department of Education’s ASCENT (Accelerating Students through Concurrent Enrollment) program, which offers a free year of college tuition.

Advanced Placement (AP) courses and International Baccalaureate (IB) course test fees can also present a barrier to students with financial need. From calculus and physics to computer science and U.S. history, AP level courses prepare students for college-level work, but their associated costs shouldn’t deter eager minds.

During the fall 2023 semester Impact on Education paid over $6,000 in test fees for BVSD students. These investments allowed 29 students to take CLEP tests, earning 324 college credits. Another 15 students from four BVSD high schools were able to take AP/IB courses. We anticipate funding an additional $13,000 this spring to cover student test fees, allowing students with financial need to access post-secondary credits before they graduate high school.

College Before Graduation

BVSD works with local colleges and universities to support students in getting a head start on earning college credits and gaining industry certifications. Concurrent and dual enrollment refer to courses where students simultaneously earn college credits while completing high school requirements. 

I am extremely grateful for the assistance, aid, and support ASCENT/ Concurrent Enrollment has given me; I don’t think I would be in college now if I hadn’t been welcomed into the program.

BVSD Graduate who participated in the ASCENT program

Students may qualify to take courses at Metropolitan State University or Front Range Community College as a general high school student, or as part of the ASCENT or Teacher Recruitment Education & Preparation (TREP) program.

During the fall 2023 semester, Impact on Education provided $5200 to pay for books and fees for students with financial need. This investment allowed 17 students to collectively attempt to earn 135 credits (an average of 8 credits per student).

Pathway building

Impact on Education is also helping BVSD recruit launch partners to build new educational pathways and covering fees associated with their rollout. 

During the fall 2023 semester, we invested $8000 to pay student course fees at Boulder TEC. From criminal justice and biomedical classes to supporting students in the new Teacher Pathway program, our investment allowed 14 students to earn 67 credits by pursuing these pathway courses.

BVSD has ambitious plans to roll out new pathways at all of our high schools, and Impact on Education is helping to recruit corporate partners that align with this work. These exciting pathways will allow students to gain skills, instruction, experience and credentials in emerging and relevant career sectors. Learn more about the pathways

Educator grants

Another way we’re able to support student futures is through Academic Opportunity Fund grants. These funds empower educators to provide enhanced learning experiences and unique education opportunities for their students, and we’ve awarded over $160,000 this school year to meet a variety of needs across all grade levels.

A few recent grants enabled high school students in CTE courses and technical education pathways to receive specialized training, including:

These funds allow students to graduate with valuable certifications and training that equip them both for personal safety and career opportunities.

Our future support

Impact on Education is committed to ensuring that financial barriers do not prevent ambitious students from accessing these valuable learning experiences. And our efforts stem from a deep belief in the potential of every student within BVSD to succeed and thrive.

As BVSD continues to work to build more and better opportunities for students, Impact on Education and our partners are working alongside them to ensure that these exciting new pathways will be equitably available to all students.

Another important way we’re supporting BVSD student access to post-secondary opportunities through college scholarships – Impact on Education will be awarding up to $80,000 to BVSD students this spring. Applications for the Class of 2024 are due on April 5, 2024.

BEFORE YOU GO

Impact on Education is an independent non-profit supporting the Boulder Valley School District. We depend on the support of our community to put our mission into action. Will you help us provide opportunities and resources to marginalized students across the Boulder Valley School District?

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Impact on Education
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