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UNC-CH Program Sending College Grads Back to High School

Posted March 21, 2007

— Ebonie Leonard loves college. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill senior now hopes to help other young people enjoy the experience.

"It's just been so diverse being here at Carolina, learning  so many things," she said.

Leonard is one of nearly 40 UNC-Chapel Hill students who has applied to be college advisers in the university's Carolina College Advising Corps, a program funded by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation that aims to help increase the number of low-income students enrolling in college.

"It's not right that some kids get to college and some don't," said UNC-Chapel Hill Assistant Provost Steve Farmer. "We can't fix everything. We're not going into these schools on a white horse pretending that we know everything. We're just going to serve."

The college advisers will help high school students fill out applications, apply for financial aid and more. Administrators believe they will provide the extra push some students need.

"The guidance counselors in North Carolina are incredibly dedicated to their kids," Farmer said. "And, I believe, they're also overwhelmed."

At Durham's Hillside High School, for example, there are five guidance counselors for more than 1,400 students.

Principal Earl Pappy believes the new program is just what his school needs.

"Whether its writing essays, how to research scholarships—there's various things that some parents aren't knowledgeable about so that we can make sure our students are tuned in to what they need to be doing," Pappy said.

The program starts this fall with eight high schools, including two in Durham and Chatham counties. UNC-Chapel Hill plans to expand the program to 10 more schools the following year.

Leonard will get her college degree this spring. Then, she hopes to help someone else do the same.

"People shouldn't let students settle anymore," she said. "They should challenge them, make them take the harder classes and go on and get a four-year degree."


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  • rc4nc Mar 22, 2007

    GWALLY you got that one right, my high school "Guidance Counselor" spent 90% of her time trying to keep students out of jail instead of keeping them in school, college? What's that?

  • SOCLOSE Mar 22, 2007

    thewayitis, i hate to disagree with you, but, programs like this does so much more than just showing potentials how to apply for college. Most of these programs are teaching kids what college life is really about and how to prepare them for that life.

  • SOCLOSE Mar 22, 2007

    another thing i forgot to mention is that the AVID program will also enter your child into advanced classes, which also ups their chances of a college admission.

  • SOCLOSE Mar 22, 2007

    keekee1974, I'm not sure which schools provide this program in your area. my daughter attends a Nash/Rocky Mount school (Northern Nash Sr High). If your in the area, give them a call. They may be able to provide you with a list of other schools.

  • thewayitis Mar 21, 2007

    Should somebody who can't figure out the application process on their own really be encouraged to go to one of the top colleges? All of these *special* programs just help to dumb down the system...The potential applicants really need to take some initiative on their own.

  • wjcspanteach Mar 21, 2007

    GWALLY: While I understand your frustrations with your child's particular high school -- my school of almost 1400 has 4 guidance counselors, and they are extremely dedicated and hard working. They spend many hours during and after school working hard. Their biggest problem is that their caseloads are about 350 students each. You also have to keep in mind that counselors are not simply there to help the kids with college decisions as well as scheduling, enrolling new students, testing, and many other things! They are truly overwhelmed!

  • DrCarolina Mar 21, 2007

    When I was in a NC high school years and years ago, I told our counselor that I wanted to go to school in Cambridge, MA and she didn't even know where to begin helping me - entirely ill equipped to handle college applications. How can someone who would not have gotten into many of these schools themselves help a high school student get in to good schools?

  • keekee1974 Mar 21, 2007

    Katmama, can you provide me the names where the AVID program is availiable??


  • GWALLY Mar 21, 2007

    I think this is a great idea. The one statement in the whole story that made me fall out of my chair with laughter, "the guidance counselors are incredibly dedicated to their kids", has got to be an all-time great B.S. line......Obviously they are talking about private school guidance counselors and not state run schools...!! My son's H.S. doesn't even have a full time counselor!!!!

  • SOCLOSE Mar 21, 2007

    sorry for some of the mispelled words. OOPS!