Gershman published in Old Newsboys Day

PattonvilleTODAY staff

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Freshman Eleanor Gershman had her article “Helping students reach college (and succeed)” published in the 2012 edition of the Old Newsboys Day issue. Her article about College Bound St. Louis was printed on the front page of the education section of the newspaper.

Just one in 10 students from the lowest income levels nationwide will graduate from college.
College Bound St. Louis was created to help students from those demographics receive the support they need to complete their educational career.
For more than six years, College Bound has been taking in and sticking with under-resourced students who are first-generation college students.
“We know typically students who are the first in their family to go to college don’t graduate,” said Lisa Weingarth Picker, development director for College Bound. “But 75 percent of our students who go to college graduate from college so we are graduating students at more than seven times the rate of the lowest income backgrounds.”
This is the same graduation rate as high-income students, Picker added. College Bound is leveling the playing field and giving more students a chance to overcome obstacles that stand in the way of their success.
Students are able to apply for the program starting in the middle of their freshman year and stay in the program until they graduate from college.
“That’s why we are unique compared to a lot of programs out there,” Picker said. “We stick with students until they graduate from college and it’s one of the reasons why we have been so successful.”
To enroll in College Bound, a student should have at least a 2.0 grade point average, be self-motivated and committed to going to college.
“We look for students that have grit and determination to persevere or are at least willing to develop that,” Picker said. “We want students that are committed to going to college and not just an opportunity to dip their toe in the water. We are looking for students that want that for their lives and are willing to work for it.”
College Bound helps students find a best-fit school, a college where they will be happy and comfortable on campus.
“We try to match our students to a school that is able to provide enough scholarships and resources so they aren’t taking out more than $10,000 a year in student loans,” Picker said. “The reason we recommend that amount is that is really how much you can pay back after college with a working salary.”
The program began in 2006 with just 36 students and now has approximately 1,600 students who attend 39 high schools in St. Louis and 70 colleges nationwide.
“We are in four schools in the St. Louis area that offer a class during the school day,” Picker said. That option is available to students at University City, Clyde C. Miller, Roosevelt and Maplewood Richmond Heights high schools as part of the Get Your Prep On program.
This program helps freshman to think about what they need to do and the classes they need to take in order to prepare for college.
Students at the other 35 high schools participate through College Bound’s community-based model in which students attend classes on Sunday afternoons at Washington University or at the College Bound Knowledge Center on Monday evenings.
“The majority of our students feel that they wouldn’t have the opportunity to go to college if it weren’t for College Bound,” Picker said. “Most of our students’ parents didn’t have the chance to go to college so they feel very grateful that we have given their kids a chance to go to college and make a major change in their lives.”