Originally Posted By: aeh
Quite a lot of the high schoolers I work with do this through community college and dual enrollment experiences.


True, but going to a community college in a high school program is a far cry from, say, going to Middlebury when you're from the Bronx (i.e. Melanie in the podcast mentioned earlier). The CC allows some exposure to organizing your time, but isn't going to help deal with the culture shock of going from a low-income city neighborhood to a college in rural northern Vermont populated by upper middle class kids who have their own cars and summered in Italy last year.

Our education leaders and politicians (among others) love to talk about helping low SES kids join the middle class/go to college/whatever, but there's a whole lot more to it than just handing them an acceptance letter to Middlebury or Williams and playing the my-dreams-are-being-realized music. The shock these kids experience as first semester freshmen must be huge, yet there's little in the way of meaningful support for them, and few other kids on campus who have similar experiences to them. They must feel pretty isolated during the fall semester.

Then, on top of that, they may have no concept of stuff like having to buy textbooks (because they're free in public schools, unlike many private ones, and also because they don't have college-educated parents to guide them on this subject), let alone knowing ways to get them for less online. They also have no concept about what's required to maintain financial aid, because what 18-year-old does? I've read stories about kids who had to drop out because no one told them about having to renew their grants/loans, and they lost them. This stuff is accessible to a middle-class parent sees it as his/her job to deal with the paperwork, has been around the ed block, and who has an education, but what about some kid whose family doesn't speak English and/or has no education and is struggling to get by, working two jobs per parent?

Then toss a low-quality high school education into the mix, and you can see why it's so much harder for these kids than it is for kids from the middle class and above.



Edited by Val (10/01/15 02:25 PM)