The New Haven Public Schools administration is preparing seniors for college by helping them with the college application and financial aid process.
It is part of the “American College Application Campaign,” a national program aimed at increasing applications from first-generation, low-income high school seniors.
The workshop began Wednesday at James Hillhouse High School.
“We are just excited for our students. We have a large senior class this year. Our graduation rate is going up, but we want to make sure our post-secondary enrollment rate is consistent with our graduation rate as well,” said Dr. Chaka Felder-McEntire, the district’s lead school counselor.
The first step in the workshop is helping students choose several potential colleges, at least one reach school and one safety school.
Some students are just beginning the process, while others, like Jailen Booker, have already identified colleges they aspire to attend.
Booker wants to major in biomedical engineering. She said this campaign is very helpful.
“There’s a lot of anxiety in the beginning of senior year because everybody is so scared of all the stress and all the work they have to do. But I feel like after the work, you’re going to feel like it’s really worth it,” said Booker, a senior from New Haven.
All of the students are encouraged to have their college applications submitted by December 15.
Superintendent Garth Harries, who plans on leaving the district, told the students how hard transition can be. But he encouraged them to look forward to the future, saying high school graduation is not the end, it is the start.
“You want a big windshield and a small rearview mirror and these students need to be focused out the windshield right now. They need to be focused on finishing their senior year and making a plan,” said Harries.