Collegiate STEPS improves grads’ odds of post-secondary success

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When you’re the first in your family to aspire to college, it can seem that there a million things you need to know that you have no idea about.

That’s why the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dallas created a college prep program to mentor and guide juniors and seniors to help them navigate the college admissions process. STEPS is short for Striving Toward Excellence Preparing for Success, a yearlong program in which staff and volunteers meet with participating students twice a month to encourage them to excel in school and plan for college. Specifically, STEPS provides one-on-one support with college applications, essay-writing, preparation for ACT/SAT tests, and the financial aid and scholarship application process. Offerings also include goal-setting and financial literacy training.

The organization recently honored 33 Dallas ISD seniors — more than half from James Madison High School — for successfully completing the STEPS program. The event celebrated students for achieving milestones in community service, character and citizenship activities and participation in academic and career development sessions. Students received scholarships, laptops and gifts to help them settle into their new lives at colleges across the U.S.

Boys and Girls Clubs Vice-President of Programs Wanda Nimer, said Collegiate STEPS is devoted to making sure students know that college is attainable and accessible. She shared credit with the organization’s corporate and nonprofit partners who support the effort to improve the odds of success for students who are the first in their families to head to college.

“We have a commitment to provide guidance and assistance to Dallas students who are underrepresented in higher education,” she said.

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