November 15, 2012

Road Construction

By myersja

Seniors, you know deadlines for colleges are approaching. You are likely elbows-deep in essays and applications. You may have attended a really cool College Application Completion event this past month at your high school, at a nearby high school, or up at the UW at Admissions Workshop Weekend, to kick-start your application season or to make progress on clicking “submit” to your reach, solid, and safety schools.

These events (part of the Road Map to College Campaign) are happening this year because multiple organizations came together under the assumption, “If we all work together, more can happen.”  The participating organizations may be familiar to you: College Success Foundation (CSF), Northwest Educational Loan Association (NELA), College Access Now (CAN), Community Center for Education Results (CCER), our local schools and school districts, and of course, Dream Project. We all work directly with high schoolers throughout the Puget Sound to support college-readiness. We all do it in slightly different ways, with different numbers of students, and with different outcomes. But the bottom line is, we ALL want to see more of this year’s seniors step onto a college campus next fall compared to the numbers in years past.

The road to collaboration is not easy, though. Believe it or not, we don’t all get into a room and magically come out with the same ideas, the same goals, and the same strategies for how to increase college-going rates. And what about paying for the new and innovative ideas or projects we do have? You’d think that adults (many of whom struggled to go to college and to navigate the system to become the change that’s needed in this region) would be able to take their knowledge and skills and work with other adults to make big things happen. But if that were the case, there wouldn’t be a persistent higher education opportunity gap in our state (in other words, you’d be just as likely to get a college degree as anyone else, regardless of your skin color or how much money your parents make).

Somehow, however, it’s working. The Dream Project is thankful to the regional partners who have committed resources to this campaign. And thanks to our 550 mentors who are volunteering at these events. Over 1,000 seniors have come to these events so far. They’ve reported starting out at the events with nothing or with just a rough draft and leaving the event with final drafts or completed applications! We don’t know yet if more students will go on to college because of these events, but we do know that the next step for our seniors is FAFSA completion. Watch for those event dates coming soon to roadmaptocollege.org!

In the mean time, if you haven’t made it to one of these events yet or if you’d like support finishing what you’ve started on your applications or essays, have no fear! There are still two more events you can attend:

Renton High School, Saturday November 17, 2012, 10:00AM – 12:30PM

Seattle Public Library (Downtown Branch), Saturday December 1, 11:00AM-5:30PM

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