Between fourth and sixth grade, my friends and I attended an orchestra camp and had the run of a college campus for three days. We stayed in the dorms, ate meals in the student union, and ran all over campus trying to stay on schedule. Around the same time, my mom was working towards her nursing degree. Sometimes, home sick from school, I would read in the college library while she studied or attended classes.
In fifth grade, my classmates and I went to the local university and tagged along with our own college student. It was overwhelming to say the least, but fun too. That same year, my siblings, neighbor, and I wrote out a timeline of our futures. I still have it. We had dreams of many homes, dogs, and breaking the gender barrier in Major League Baseball. We added plans to attend and graduate college.
In seventh grade, we had to research a career of our choosing. I chose cartoonist. I looked up what skills cartoonists need, what salary they make, what colleges they attend. In ninth grade, we learned the ins-and-outs of the university library while researching an English assignment.
I cannot recall if one of these moments was the impetus to attend college. I was fortunate to be surrounded by a college-going culture. Fortunate again, I earned scholarships to attend. Because now, I realize, I lacked financial literacy. I didn’t understand the costs of college or how financial aid worked. I didn’t have savings built up to pay for school. Like a lot of children, I had the desire to go to college, but not necessarily the means. I was lucky.
We can’t rely on luck. Ninety-three percent of middle school students aspire to attend college. Forty-four percent will actually attend. Its programs like Career & College Clubs that help eliminate that achievement gap. Career & College Clubs teaches that it takes more than drive to attend college – it takes an understanding of the educational requirements and financial literacy. And the results are in! Career & College Clubs students are 85% more likely to enroll in college then their peers. 85% doesn’t represent luck – it represents success!
Alexandra Abbott, CCC Blogger