BRIDGEPORT -- For Alan Cesar of Stratford, a junior at Bunnell High School, financing a college education became much more understandable.

For Annemarie Tompsen of Milford, a student at Jonathan Law High School, career options for someone with her interests became much more apparent.

Both were among some 43 students from area high schools who were honored Wednesday, June 3 at Housatonic Community College for completing the four workshops that comprise HCC’s Bridges college readiness program. They were among those who took away from the program much more than kudos and tangible awards

The program, part of Housatonic’s achieving the Dream initiative, offers area high school students four workshops that will assist them with the transition to college. This year, students from Ansonia, Bassick, Bunnell, Bullard Havens, Central, Harding, Jonathan Law and Platt Tech participated. (Platt Tech students will be honored at a ceremony there June 9 at 1 p.m.)

One, workshop, Orientation to College, covers such crucial issues as the benefits of a college education, costs and students have dealt with them, and time management, including balancing work and leisure times. Another, Placement Test Preparation, including the types of tests required and who must take them.

A third, Career Planning, covers “the perfect job,” the importance and impact of education, higher education options, education requirements for specific careers, and hot careers. It offers career interest inventories that help students get their arms around careers that may be of interest.

It was this workshop that Tompsen found most valuable. “It helped me narrow own the list of possible careers.” She said.  “Based on the tests they gave, I found out that becoming a professor, editor or journalist would be a good career for me.”

A fourth workshop, Financial Aid, covered the important topics of college costs, applying for financial aid, the definition of need, and types of financial aid available. It also compared financial aid by institution and covered various types of scholarship scams.

It was this workshop that Cesar found most valuable. “I didn’t realize how complex an issue this is,” he said. “It opened my eyes to different ways you can finance a college education.”

Both were impressed by Housatonic.

“I really like the new building, Beacon Hall,” Tompsen said. “There are a lot of places where students can relax and study. It’s a relaxing environment.”

Cesar offered a similar sentiment. “I would consider going to Housatonic,” he said. “I could save money. I was impressed by the faculty and the quality of the new building and the technology.”