Medical Physician Preparation (MPP) Academy

A Division of the NAPCA Foundation

Empowering students with the tools and mindsets to define their life’s purpose/career path, break through their barriers, and take ownership of their future college and career aspirations.

MPP Academy Goal 2035

Our big goal is to increase the diversity among doctors who are underrepresented in the physician workforce from the current rate of 11% to 20% by 2035. We are committed to building a pipeline of future medical students, as early as 4th grade, that is more representative of the U.S. population.

CCR Standards

NAPCA's 15 Standards for College and Career Readiness

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Building a Strong College and Career Readiness Culture in the Home

Goal

Parents can and do have favorable impacts upon their children in terms of achievement and aspirations, including college and career readiness. However, this may not come “naturally” to most parents. Most often, the lack of family support for a post high-school education and career stems from a lack of knowledge and from a lack of awareness about options that may be available. Building a strong college and career readiness culture in the home is a pivotal step towards ensuring that students will, with the right supports and the right amount of support, move confidently in the direction of a fulfilling career and life of purpose.

Why It Matters

In a review of studies regarding the impact of parents upon student achievement and aspirations, the U.S. Department of Education (2004) indicated that students with involved parents, regardless of income or background, are more likely to earn high grades, test scores and enroll in higher-level programs; to pass their classes and to be promoted from grade level to grade level; to attend school consistently and; to graduate from high school and attend postsecondary education.

U.S. Department of Education. (2004). Parental involvement: Title I, Part A. Non-regulatory guidance. Washington, DC: Author.

It is important for parents to access formal (i.e., programmatic) and informal supports through local school districts and other organizations.

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Nurturing Students’ College and Career Aspirations

Goal

In order to nurture students’ college and career aspirations, we must first be aware of what those aspirations are. Conley (2015) wrote that learning is most effective when students are able to connect what is being taught to their own goals and aspirations. Motivation is likely to remain high when students have developed clear goals that they are striving for and when the education and support that they are receiving is helping them to achieve those goals. Counselors need to be immediately aware of the college and career aspirations of the students with whom they work and, if necessary, can help the student to identify, explore, and best articulate those aspirations.

Why It Matters

Knowledge and understanding of students’ college and career aspirations can facilitate greater student investment in their own learning. When those responsible for nurturing college and career aspirations in students make it known to those students that they are invested in helping them to articulate those aspirations and to set a plan in motion, the students become more engaged learners who make more meaningful contributions in class and better invested in their academic communities. All of this translates to greater student success.

Career Exploration and Planning: Career Decision-Making Processes

Goal

The NAPCA Foundation has invested a significant amount of time developing a revolutionary career exploration and planning process that is based upon the well-researched Cognitive Information Processing (CIP) Model. The NAPCA model involves a comprehensive four-phase process that includes self-exploration, choosing and exploring a career field of interest, conducting an in-depth analysis of a chosen career specialty, and building a Personal Strategic Action Plan (PSAP). Quite simply, the NAPCA model of career exploration and planning is designed to provide students with the personal knowledge, process knowledge, decision-making strategies, and navigational supports (including a formal education and career plan and coaching) needed to fulfill career goals.

Why It Matters

As a field and as a set of practices, career exploration and planning has gone through many iterations. The CIP Model, as mentioned above, has shown itself to be a reliable and durable framework for career exploration and planning that has been used as the basis for many career exploration and counseling programs. NAPCA’s model represents a revolutionary approach that is applicable across a number of career fields and career specialties and in fact, NAPCA is in the process of creating a series of dedicated, career-specialty-specific guidebooks.

Workplace Readiness: Fundamental Skills and Workplace Competencies

  • Workplace Competency 1: Resources
  • Workplace Competency 2: Interpersonal
  • Workplace Competency 3: Information
  • Workplace Competency 4: Systems
  • Workplace Competency 5: Technology

Goal

The United States Department of Labor (1992) undertook a study to determine the skills, competencies, and personal qualities needed for youth to successfully enter the work force. The study yielded five core competencies – resources, interpersonal skills, information, systems, and technology. Workers deemed effective could utilize a number of tools or exhibit a number of skills that fall under each competency. For example, under the competency of “Information,” an effective worker might be proficient at acquiring and evaluating data, organizing and maintaining files, interpreting and communicating, and at using computers to process information. Naturally, there are degrees to which a worker may demonstrate proficiency with any given task or skill under a competency. However, it is the constellation or grouping of these mastered competencies that is seen as central to an individual being considered workplace-ready.

Why It Matters

Workplace readiness skills prepare individuals for jobs within any given career field. Clear standards for work readiness ensure that skills are aligned with employer requirements and that individuals develop the foundational skills necessary for success.

Academic Skills Development (Effective Study Skills and Learning Strategies)

Goal

Here, small group instruction will focus on key learning skills and techniques, including Overcoming Procrastination, Time Management, Memory and Concentration, Note Taking, Textbook Reading, and Exam Preparation. These are core skills that are needed in order to “learn how to learn” most effectively. No matter the content area, command of these core skills will serve the student well.

Why It Matters

Learning takes place in many contexts and the quality of the learning experiences available to the learner can vary from day to day. It is also true that every learner has a preferred way of learning, whether through a single modality or multiple modalities. Learning how to learn is another matter entirely, and these skills development courses prepare all students to learn most effectively.

Academic Planning for College and Career Readiness

Goal

The intent behind academic planning for college and career readiness is to advance students’ planning, preparation, participation, and performance in a rigorous academic program that connects to their college and career aspirations and goals. NAPCA counselors are prepared to help students to make the pivotal decisions needed to choose a career field and to plot a definitive course towards their goals. This includes aligning students’ studies/academic plans with college and career aspirations. A look into the academic planning and preparation of a “preferred” medical school candidate indicates clearly that

Why It Matters

When students develop a formal academic plan for college and career readiness, as well as the related skills needed to achieve their college and career goals, the likelihood of being truly “college and career ready” is far more likely. In turn, those students are making clear their intent to pursue and to achieve a specific set of career and personal outcomes.

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Social and Emotional Learning: Skills and Competencies for College and Career Readiness

Goal

The purpose of NAPCA’s SEL component is to help students to break through academic and non-academic barriers. Skills and competencies needed to break through barriers may include:

  • Academic Behaviors: Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) includes mention of academic goal achievement because having to meet repeated and constantly changing academic demands in a competitive learning environment necessitates that the student is equipped to regulate his or her behavioral and emotional reactions to those demands, to manage attention, flexibility of thought, and the ability to plan an approach to problem solving and, a host of other skills that would allow the student to respond favorably and adaptively in and out of the classroom. These days, SEL is often integrated with Common Core Standards.
  • Building “Soft Skills”: In addition to helping students to develop their academic and technical skills, including literacy, writing skills, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) proficiency, standardized test taking performance, school attendance, and course rigor, our school counselors can also work closely with students to help them to develop their “soft skills,” as these may predict post-secondary success (Hanover Research, 2014). Soft skills include social-emotional development (relating to self and others), critical thinking skills, and intrapersonal skills such as cognitive, behavioral, and emotional self-regulation, communication, optimism, efficiency, motivation, collaboration, leadership, accountability, conflict resolution, assertiveness, cultural competency, and stress/time management. According to Hanover Research (2014), students must be college and career ready in order to be productive and successful citizens in today’s global economy, and attention needs to be paid to student engagement, social, and academic behaviors. School counselors should emphasize the need for students to possess content knowledge, cognitive strategies, learning skills, as well as transition knowledge and skills (Hanover Research, 2014). Beyond promoting student academic success, school counselors can help students to develop skills of communication, problem-solving, teamwork, leadership, creativity, awareness, responsibility, and self-management. Soft skills can be readily incorporated into daily curricula across all content areas so that opportunities for skills rehearsal are always available. These skills and qualities are central to postsecondary achievement and are also viewed by potential future employers as being quite valuable.
  • Transition Support: Here, the intent is to provide support for making the transition from being a high school student to being a successful college student who has developed a positive mindset, emotional, mental, cultural, and social preparedness for college success, effective learning strategies/study skills, and social/interpersonal skills. Such knowledge and such skill sets can help the student to break through barriers such as stress, anxiety, depression, and fear of failure, success, and of the unknown.
  • Mindset: Nurturing within our students positive “growth mindsets,” teaching effective learning and motivation strategies, and teaching skills of resilience, all of which are needed to complete a workforce-relevant credential, to attend and complete a two-year or four-year college degree, to complete a graduate/professional degree, and to obtain an internship or gain an entry-level position in a desired career specialty.

Why It Matters

Social Emotional Learning is strongly associated with student success, engagement, and motivation, and strong social-emotional skills are also a hallmark of effective leaders and of success in the workplace.

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Participation in College and Career Readiness and Academic Enrichment Programs, Events, and Activities

Goal

NAPCA believes strongly in student participation in college and career readiness programs, in conjunction with careful career exploration and planning practices. Having “college knowledge,” as well as a clear sense of the knowledge, skills, and abilities expected of all members of a productive workforce, can aid any student in pursuit of a career that brings meaning and a sense of purpose to his/her life. Other academic enrichment programs, events, and activities prepare students further for the rigors of postsecondary education and beyond.

Why It Matters

Student achievement is heightened when there is consistent exposure to a wide range of extracurricular and enrichment opportunities that build leadership, nurture talents and interests, and increase engagement with school.

Navigating the College Admissions Process

Goal

In this area, counselors aim to ensure that students and families have an early and ongoing understanding of the college and career application and admission processes so that they can find the postsecondary options that are the best fit for their aspirations and interests.

Why It Matters

College and career planning are challenging processes for many reasons. The time and energy needed to properly explore career fields of interest and to decide upon a career specialty is considerable but necessary in order to make a well-informed decision. Once that decision is in hand, the task then turns to selecting a college that will best prepare the student for his/her chosen career specialty. With approximately 5,300 colleges and universities across the United States, finding the perfect fit can seem an impossible task. Thus, establishing understanding of the college and career application and admissions processes is crucial to defining a path to a career that will bring a sense of fulfillment. NAPCA’s counselors are equipped to help parents, family members, and the student to navigate this process.

College Affordability Planning

Goal

Counseling should provide students and families with comprehensive information about college costs, options for paying for college, and the financial aid and scholarship processes and eligibility requirements, so they are able to plan for and afford a college education. Fear of being unable to afford college is one of the greatest impediments for students (Paulsen & St. John, 2002). School counselors are encouraged to facilitate workshops for students and parents on financial aid, educating stakeholders regarding available scholarships and grants, and encouraging students to enhance their grade point average (Bryan et al., 2015). School counselors can facilitate workshops that walk parents through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process step by step, as well as discuss in detail the information that is required on FAFSA forms. School counselors need to remind students that if there is a will, there is a way, and to not allow the cost of college to prevent them from applying and attending.

Why It Matters

Accounting for cost and planning to pay for college is more of challenge now than ever given the current financial climate and the rising cost of college. According to the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA; 2017) students from low- and even middle-income backgrounds cannot afford the tuition at 95% of all colleges.

Further, according to LendEdu (2018), some 55% of students struggled to find the money to pay for college while nearly 51% dropped out of college because of financial issues.

To complicate the matter further, those who do not attend college are at risk of not earning a living wage. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2019), median weekly earnings in the third quarter of 2019 was $606 for high school dropouts, while those with advanced degrees earned $1,559 per week. Taken altogether, these statistics make clear the need for careful and comprehensive college affordability planning.

Build a Strong Academic Foundation for College Success

Goal

Students must have the specific content knowledge, skills, and abilities that will make them competitive applicants to their best-fit and top-choice colleges or universities. NAPCA’s curriculum highlights academic skill development and the delivery of academic content that ensures that students will indeed have a strong academic foundation for college success.

Why It Matters

NAPCA recognizes the importance of helping students to develop strong academic skills from a young age and further recognizes the need for those academic skills to be applicable across any academic content area. At the same time, we recognize that students must have the specific content knowledge, skills, and abilities that top colleges expect viable applicants to have in order for students to persist to college graduation.

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Participating in College and Career Readiness Outreach Programs

Goal

Resources for college and career readiness can be found through a multitude of sources and it is helpful for students to be aware of each and every opportunity to become develop their readiness skills. To that end, College and Career Readiness Outreach Programs are most often affiliated with local colleges and universities and frequently, these outreach programs partner with area high schools in order to make college and career readiness programming available to all students. Webpages, links, and other outreach materials,career-related events and workshops, resources for studentsin the areas of career and financial literacy – all of these sources can provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to become truly college and career ready.

Why It Matters

Though some students may not have the benefit of such support through their public high school, an outreach program might well be the bridge that connects those students to readiness programs.

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Connecting Students to Meaningful Work-Based Learning Opportunities

Goal

Connecting to work-based learning opportunities affords students the chance to implement knowledge in a waythat will help them to remain engaged and motivated throughout their careers.

Why It Matters

A meaningful way to apply knowledge obtained through classroom-based learning is through work-based learning opportunities. Simultaneously, new and readily applicable knowledge can be generated through work-based learning opportunities.

Participation in Extracurricular Activities: In School and Out of School

Goal

All students can derive benefit from engagement in extracurricular activities and there are typically activities available that can capture the interest of every learner. Thus, it is recommended that all students engage some form of extracurricular activity, whether through school or outside of school.The word extracurricularrefers activities that fall outside the scope of regular curriculum.Extracurricular activities require a regular time commitment and initiative not just to initiate, but to maintain. It is in maintaining that commitment that real benefit is derived. Sometimes, learning about extracurricular activities is as easy as visiting the school guidance office or visiting a local chamber of commerce or other civic organization.

Why It Matters

Some benefits of extracurricular activities include improved academic performance, having the opportunity to explore interests, gaining higher self-esteem, having more social opportunities, taking time for productive breaks from academic work, and building life skills (e.g., teamwork, time management, leadership).

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School Selection: Enrollment in Schools with a Strong College and Career Readiness Culture

Goal

It is crucial for all schools to adopt and advance a strong college and career readiness culture and in turn, for students to seek schools with such a culture. Schools with a strong college and career readiness culture are invested in helping students to believe that they can have a great future and that they can plan and prepare for many options and potential outcomes.

In a well-developed college and career readiness culture, students as young as elementary-school age learn about options for careers and the education requires and for the future in general. Further, those schools present the expectation that all students can prepare for, attend, and be successful in post-secondary education. In turn, schools, families, and the broader community resonate with the same message of high expectations for their students.

Why It Matters

In the end, students who come from a school in which there exists a strong college and career readiness culture believe they can have a great future, and that they can plan and prepare for many options.

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