Archive for February, 2011

What is College Prep?

Posted on February 11, 2011 in Post-Secondary Attainment

What is college prep?

College prep is an integral time of learning in a young person’s life.

It is an awakening. A yearning. A quest for the summit.

It is an opportunity for: Change, learning, security, growth, culture, advancement, career, knowledge, life skills, future.

As spring creeps upon us with sunlight and hope, we all tend to blossom. Some, earlier than others. For some students, college is more of an accident – a crashing – a forced awakening when their future is suddenly upon them. The light bulb may have come on too late, or never at all. For others, it’s a strategic plan, as they carefully arrange a  collection of letters and cards in a folder, flanked by smiling parents. They have been waiting their whole life for this.

Then there are those students who hang in limbo. They are neither slackers nor planners. They are not the valedictorian, but not the dropout. They are bright, and impressonable, and full of potential. They are the meat of this country’s diverse future.

Yet, that student usually doesn’t know anything about college prep.

They lack the information, the mentors, the unwritten rules to help them along the sometimes rocky path to college. They wander about, not sure what to do next. They hear their classmates chatting about Indiana University, Notre Dame, or Purdue. They dream of these places, though they’ve never been to a college campus.

They are the in-between, the left-behind, the “slip through the cracks” child. The system is not meant for students like them.

Sure, they would like to go to college. Get an education, get a good job so they don’t have to wait tables like mom. Yeah, that sounds really nice. 

Except no one in their family has ever been to college. College always seemed like a rich person’s venture, an exclusive club. Not only have they never been invited, but they wouldn’t know what to do if they were. There is not a map they can google or an adult who isn’t too busy to spend some time telling them about it.

College prep, to these students, is scary, expensive, confusing, intimidating and sometimes even unattainable.

Who is there to provide the map for these students? Who is going to calm their fears?

This is what we do in Trio Programs. That is why we are here at the University of Notre Dame.