How to help low income and underserved students reach college.

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to facilitate a discussion with a group of 27 high school counselors about college counseling. The issue was framed as “How do we help low income/underserved students reach college and be successful there?”

There were many inspiring and enlightening examples, as well as a sharing of some of the barriers faced by the counselors. At the end of the day the following options emerged as ways of dealing with the issue:

– focus on parents and their roles/responsibilities/needs;
– instill more college information in the high school curricula;
– more ACT test prep; and
– provide more information about the benefits of going to college.

Interestingly, the group did not rate “lack of money” as one of the top options.  It seems that for good students there is a way to reach college and succeed.

One response to “How to help low income and underserved students reach college.

  1. They certainly got the #1 issue right! Under that I would add a need for truancy officers that actually check up on absentees, followed by a revamping of how counselors are used in our schools. The main job of a counselor should be to find out why a child – any child – is making below an overall “C” average. Is it a lack of parental commitment to education at home, is it an eyesight, hearing, or other medical problem, is it a lack of skill level, or is it some other problem? Find the problem. Formulate a plan of action and solve the problem. Neglect is not an answer. Once a student expects failure, he drops out.

    If we really want to make changes in our education systems to benefit the students, it will take a multifaceted approach and a comprehensive plan of action involving parents, teachers, counselors, school boards, law enforcement, the juvenile justice system, church leaders, community leaders, local government and state government.

    Why is it that in no matter other than education, do we let a 16 year old make an adult decision, one that will effect the rest of his life and one he is ill-equipped to make….dropping out of school?

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