Program offers a college jump-start for Summit County students
summit daily news
SUMMIT COUNTY – With swelling student involvement in Summit School District’s pre-collegiate program, coordinator Molly Griffith seeks local mentors to guide kids through the college application process.
According to Griffith, mentors will meet with five to eight students each from 2:30-4:30 p.m. on Monday, April 5, April 19 and May 17. A mentor must be a professional with a college education, and throughout the three-month commitment they’d share information about their careers and life experiences.
The district’s pre-collegiate program started in December 2009 and it helps first-generation college hopefuls with lots of skills – knowledge of the application process (for colleges, scholarships and financial aid), study tips (for high school classes, the ACT and SAT), essay-writing help and hands-on access to colleges through scheduled tours.
Participating students meet every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon at the Summit Middle School, and the program currently serves 83 kids ranging in age from eighth graders to seniors.
It’s free too – The Summit Foundation, Vail Resorts, the Keltner Family Foundation and the Summit School District all donated funding to make the program possible.
“We give them the resources and experiences necessary to successfully pursue post-secondary education,” Griffith said.
To qualify for the program, students must have at least a 2.0 GPA and they must be the first generation in their family to attend college. Its main purpose is to educate students about how to continue their education outside of high school, especially providing information that kids wouldn’t necessarily have access to on their own or from their parents.
Summit High School senior Jefri Dzib said his involvement in the pre-collegiate program was integral in helping him chose to attend the University of Colorado Denver after graduation. Dzib said he plans to study law enforcement.
“Without the program, I wouldn’t have learned about scholarships, visited colleges or learned about how to get money to go,” he said.
Senior student Adriana Salcido said she didn’t even know she could go to college since she had an immigrant status.
“If I wouldn’t have had Molly there, I wouldn’t have applied to schools or scholarships,” Salcido said, adding that she’s already applied to 10 schools. She said she’s currently favoring the University of New Mexico, and she hopes to study nursing.
And sophomore Javier Pineda is studying hard and taking his ACT test early.
“It’s good practice,” he said. “It will be good for me to start knowing about colleges and opportunities so when I’m a senior, I’ll know more.”
Griffith said the University of Colorado at Boulder has been running pre-collegiate programs for the last 30 years, and both CU-Boulder and Colorado Mountain College are supporting the Summit School District’s branch by offering summer programs and Saturday Academies. Tenth and 11th graders will be living on the CU-Boulder campus for two weeks, and eighth and ninth graders will be working with CMC professors for a week during the summer.
For more information, contact Griffith at (970) 368-1130 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at email@example.com.
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