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College Summit

Project Name: College Summit
Challenge: Low income high school students are much less likely to get to college than their wealthier peers. By age 25, only seven percent of low-income students earn a college degree, compared to 60 percent by upper income students.
Solution: College Summit works to close the gap by helping students from low-income families select schools, complete college applications, write personal statements, and navigate financial aid.

The Director of College Summit, J.B. Schramm, started the program after having worked as an academic advisor at Harvard University. Schramm's idea was to guide low-income students through the college application process. In turn, those kids would become role models and mentors to their fellow classmates, creating a college-going culture in communities where it never before existed.

The program targets students Schramm defines as "better than their numbers," those whose lower grades and test scores might be hiding otherwise first-rate college material. College Summit runs workshops across the country -- 60 in total -- where volunteer counselors, including former College Summit participants -- work with students on issues from test prep to financial aid. But at the heart of the workshop is training students on the admissions application essay or personal statement. This is the student's opportunity to make a personal appeal to admissions officers.

College Summit
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To gain insight into the lives of some of these students, read some of their compelling essays


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Enterprising Ideas is a project of NOW on PBS, with support from:

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