Strive for College is a new approach to correcting the inequalities of college access. Strive recruits undergraduate student mentors from local universities to guide low-income high school students through the process of applying to, enrolling in and paying for four-year colleges and universities. We are a national organization with chapters across the country.
As the January 1st deadline for applications at many universities nears, it’s alarming to think about the many talented low-income students who won’t apply to four-year colleges for which they are qualified.
I’ve spent much of the past decade-and-a-half focusing on economic diversity in higher education—with an emphasis on admissions and financial-aid strategies for low-income students. One of the critical ways to achieve greater socioeconomic diversity is for colleges to provide affirmative action for economically disadvantaged students, whom my frequent collaborator Anthony Carnevale calls “strivers.”
I’ve often noted that providing financial aid alone is not enough to improve access for low- income students; in order to receive financial aid, students first have to be admitted. Universities that have generous financial-aid policies, but admit few low-income students, won’t do much for socioeconomic diversity.
On Friday, a room full of Del Mar High School students, teachers and mentors got together to celebrate the end of Strive for College's fall session. They also celebrated their future: college.
"If it hadn't been for this program, I would have been tearing out the hair on my head," said Del Mar senior Molica Nol. "It takes time out of school to find some of this information. You don't want to be at home doing it all alone."
Nol is involved in a local chapter of a nonprofit organization that has its roots in Campbell and goes out across the nation to universities for mentors to help guide high school students through the college-application process.
"This is one of our largest chapters, as well as one of the oldest," says Sofia Janney-Roberts, coordinator for Strive for College's nine chapters.