12:47 PM

New Student Org Coming to Campus

strive for collegeA new student organization focused on guiding high school students through the college application process will be introduced to campus this fall.

Strive for College is a mentoring program that connects low-income high school students with undergraduate student mentors, who work with them one-on-one through the college application and financial aid processes over the course of one year.

According to Christopher Grady, the Houston/Dallas regional coordinator for Strive, UHD was chosen because of its unique profile and location.

"UHD was selected because Strive creates university and high school partnerships that are ideally located close to one another. Further, I was really interested in including UHD because many students are first-generation college attendees. Many of the high school Strive candidates are also first-generation, and having that commonality is something that really resonates with the mentor/mentee relationship and creates a deeper investment on the part of everyone," Grady said.

The organization was founded by Michael Carter while a freshman at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Frustrated with the lack of guidance he received from his own high school guidance counselors, Carter gathered several friends and made a partnership with an area high school and discovered that low-income students fair much worse in the college application process.

According to Carter, there are roughly 400,000 low-income high school seniors yearly that are qualified to attend a four-year college that don't go for various reasons, which results in $400-650 billion in lost economic growth every year.

"What's so powerful about strive is the very human connection between a college and high school student who are only a couple of years apart and that realizations that, 'wow, you did it - I can do it, too,'" he said.

UHD students that participate in the program will work with high school students from Kashmere and Davis High Schools. As the number of UHD participants grows, the program will expand to include Wheatley and Reagan High Schools. In addition to aiding the high school students launch their college careers, UHD students will be gaining valuable experience and competencies that are sure to benefit them in the future.

"UHD students will gain skills that are undoubtedly applicable in the workplace, including communication, collaboration, analysis and teaching abilities, and they will be able to see how social entrepreneurship and service affect change in extraordinary ways," Grady said. "They will also experience the network of the Houston non-profit world - the largest of any city in the country, it's worth mentioning - among so many other things."

Students should be on the look-out for more information about Strive as the final touches are put on the organization's executive board and constitution.

Strive has chapters located at such universities as Carnegie Mellon University, Vanderbilt University, New York University, Georgetown University and various others.