College Knowledge, Now!

College Knowledge, Now! is an elementary outreach initiative housed in the Center for Community Career Education at UTC that educates and inspires youth from throughout the Chattanooga region. Through fun-filled activities on the UTC campus, children are able to experience the collegiate world that exists in our community and take home an actual vision of what a postsecondary future looks like during this half-day field trip to UTC.

The ultimate goal of the program is to significantly increase the number of elementary children (4th and 5th grade) who understand post-secondary options , connect elementary children with college students to help them understand what it takes to get to take advantage of these options, as well as connect elementary, middle, and high school academic preparedness to college accessibility.

During CK, Now! students learned basic college knowledge which includes: introductions to majors and minors; steps to get to and succeed in college; definitions of ACT, FAFSA, and Tennessee Promise; different types of postsecondary education (apprenticeships, technical, 2 year, 4 year, and postgraduate); and financial aid awareness (students learn the differences amongst scholarships, loans, and grants). In the “elective” classes, students are able to deepen their college experience by participating in various activities with different UTC departments. These elective experiences included: Introductions to Computer Coding at the Challenger Center; Model Residence Hall Tours; Full Campus Tour; Understanding College Athletics with UTC Student Athletes; Global Education with Takeo Suzuki (Director of International Programs); College Vocabulary Games; and Career Clusters (college & career connections/ awareness activity). Teachers predetermined which activities were best for their students based on each school’s curricula.

Community Partners: Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce, Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga, and the Columbus Foundation

Costs: $3.00 per child for non-Title I schools. Title 1 schools will have the costs waived based on donor support.


  • Four thousand three hundred and seventy four (4,374) 4th and 5th grade students have participated in CK, Now! since its beginning. Another 313 students attended from the Chattanooga Youth and Family Centers bringing the total number of children who attended the program over the past 2 years to 4,687.
  • 35 schools (several having attended more than once) in Chattanooga, Hamilton, Bradley, Bledsoe and Catoosa Counties and 9 Youth and Family Development Centers from Chattanooga have participated.
  • The school faculty & staff information (below) is based on guidance counselors, family partnership specialists, principals, or teachers who booked the field trip. The student data is based on the 2,087 kids that came to UTC for the field trip during the 2016-2017 school year.
    • 100% of school faculty and staff agreed with the statement: “My students perceptions of college positively changed after participating in CK, Now!”
    • 100% of school faculty and staff would recommend CK, Now! to other schools.
    • 97% of students say they now know more about postsecondary education after participating in CK, Now!
    • 88% of students say that they now believe they can afford a postsecondary education after learning about financial aid during CK, Now!
    • 96% of students claimed that they now have a more positive view of college after participating in CK, Now!
    • 97% of students stated that they believe postsecondary education is important for their futures.
    • 93% of students stated that they envision themselves earning a postsecondary education after high school.
    • 92% of students would recommend CK, Now! to a friend.
    • 94% of students that participated in CK, Now! agreed with the statement “learning about college is fun.”
  • When we posed the statement, “College to me is _________________.” Here are some of the responses we received from participating students:
    • “very important, fun, and a MUST.”
    • “an opportunity to conquer dreams.”
    • “so important for my future.”
    • “where I will achieve my dream.”
    • “a chance to show people that you can do anything you put your mind to.”
    • “the best place to be in life!”
    • “possible and amazing!”
  • Anecdotal commentaries from participating school professionals:
    • “A positive attitude toward academics increased after our visit to UTC. Here at Spring Creek, we study Career Awareness. Our CK, Now! visit is a follow up of the importance of post -secondary education. The visit helps the students to better understand the connection between school and the world of work.” – Spring Creek Elementary Guidance Counselor
    • “I think the exposure is key and repeatedly hearing that college is accessible to anyone who is willing to put in the work.” –School Counselor, Wallace A. Smith Elementary
    • “We had so many comments that this was great from the students and that they can’t wait to go to college. One little boy said, ‘I used to think college wasn’t for me, but now I know I can do it!’” -5th grade teacher, Prospect Elementary
    • “The entire program was great. I’m so happy that our students were able to interact with college students. It’s vital to expose our children to postsecondary education as early as elementary school. This helps them set goals and expand their vision of the future.”
    • “So good to get early exposure to college! It’s too late once they get to middle or high school. I had teachers tell me they want to do this field trip early next year to help motivate students throughout the year.” School Counselor, West Side Elementary (Catoosa Co., Georgia)
    • “I think this program is absolutely amazing! Had I had this opportunity as a child, I would have understood the bigger picture sooner! Kids must learn about college before middle and high school!” -5th grade teacher, Brown Academy
  • Anecdotal commentaries from participating students:
    • “I used to think college wasn’t for me, but now I know I can do it!” -5th grade boy
    • “I learned that I need to have a good GPA, do well on the ACT, fill out a FAFSA in high school, and I can get the Tennessee Promise.” -5th grade girl
    • “I learned that college is probably the best thing that could happen to you.” -5th grade girl
    • “This was my second favorite field trip ever next to Dollywood.” -5th grade boy



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