GO helping high schoolers see college as an option
Isaiah Kennedy had never stayed overnight on a college campus, so he was a little surprised when he checked into his first dorm room at UofL.
“I was excited when I got there, but I didn’t know about the roommates,” he admitted with a grin.
Kennedy, a rising senior this fall at Moore Traditional School, was one of around 30 high schoolers who visited Belknap Campus July 14-15 for a Gaining Options (GO) College session offering practical tips on going to college.
The students attended workshops on everything from how to choose a college to how to pay for tuition, dined at The Ville Grill and spent the night in Louisville Hall.
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The program, operated in Louisville by UofL’s Office of Community Engagement and Jefferson County Public Schools, takes the mystery out of going to college for disadvantaged high schoolers who aren’t sure they want to attend, said June Demus, GO College director.
Hundreds of students from Moore and The Academy @ Shawnee have taken part in the Council for Opportunity in Education-funded program since 2010.
“We think it’s making a difference in how they view college,” Demus said.
GO College students are exposed to new college experiences each year of high school. As freshmen, they stay on UofL’s campus for a week, joining in a variety of academic and social activities. As sophomores and juniors, they take field trips to colleges around the region, where they meet faculty, counselors and students and learn about college life.
Four academic “coaches”—two at Moore and two at Shawnee—work full-time at the high schools all year, getting to know the students and following their progress through four years of high school.
“The coaches stay involved with the students and their families. They build relationships and trust,” Demus said.
Miranda Strane-Harris, a rising Shawnee senior in GO College, said she’s learned a lot through the program.
“You get to see a lot of different colleges and you have a lot more opportunities than other high school students to see what college is like,” she said.