Former Uplift scholars took part in Alumni Service Day on January 8. Alumni from across the country revisited their Uplift schools and spoke to current seniors.
The event takes place once a year and provides current students the opportunity to hear first hand from their former classmates about their college experience. Alumni of Uplift Summit visited with the Road to College classes and helped put up a board of college acceptances during their service day.
“I feel like it’s a second home or a second family when I come back to Summit,” said Jasmine Lucero, Uplift Summit alumni and a student at the University of Texas at Arlington.
Lucero, a college senior, has visited Uplift Summit several times during her college career and looks forward to Uplift Alumni service day because of the impact she can make on current scholars. Lucero is studying industrial engineering. She says her alma mater not only prepared her academically but the structure of the college preparatory school helped develop essential skills for her to succeed.
“Uplift has given me so much not just in school but outside of school because they have been supportive,” said Lucero.
Uplift Summit Alumni Road to College counselor , Michele Curry-Woodhouse visits with alumni in
college and helps navigate them to ensure they graduate from college. Curry-Woodhouse opened the panel discussions asking alumni to think back to when they were high school seniors awaiting their acceptance letters and how they transitioned to college.
“I remember being in their shoes two years ago and really hearing from someone they can relate to I feel is a more enriching experience,” said Jacob Kramer, class of 2014.
Kramer is in his second year at the University of Southern California majoring in broadcast journalism and political science.
The former scholars began the panel discussing how they made their decision to attend their college. For a majority of alumni the financial aid packages offered by the college ultimately helped make their decision.
“A lot of the time you’re going to get into a lot of the schools you want to go to but at least in my opinion it’s going to come down to the fact whether or not you can afford it,” said one of the alumni.
Although for some it was a combination of preferring to go in state or out-of-state to college which brings about its own challenges.
“A lot of alumni, especially when I speak to kids out of state there’s some culture shock that goes on that’s one of the things you have to think about and put some strategies in place for yourself as far as getting out there and making friends right away,” said Curry-Woodhouse.
Alumni recommended scholars to get involved with organizations, intramural sports and try new things.
Scholars were then able to ask alumni anything about college life. One scholar asked about mental health, and the alumni told scholars it is important for them to be healthy and if they do feel depressed or homesick to talk to someone. Many colleges offer free counseling sessions that are included in tuition.
The visits are just one of several events planned by Road to College to help prepare seniors as they embark on their college career. Uplift schools will also help scholars with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), meet scholarship deadlines and push scholars to increase scores in the classroom before officially announcing their college destination at College Signing Day in May.