This may sound bias, but I always enjoy working with the rising seniors because they are so close to graduating high school and going on to college that I want to make sure they know EVERYTHING about college and the college process. I would have to say my favorite experience with the seniors (aside from our time in New Orleans) was their reaction to a lesson plan that required them to fill out online forms to be matched with colleges and universities that would be a great fit for them based on a range of preferences (majors, ROTC, high minority presence, size of school). My goal was for them to explore schools outside of the St. Louis area. For me, I always knew I wanted to attend an out-of-state school. I’ve learned that many students think they should only look at colleges within the metropolitan area or within an hour from the city for so many reasons. Part of why I returned to Upward Bound (I was a student in the program) was because I wanted to share my story for students to understand that there is so much more out there beyond St. Louis. Now, I know not every student wants to or is comfortable with jumping from St. Louis to Ann Arbor, but I want them to know that you can be far away from home and do well in school (socially, academically, mentally). Students were very happy and interested in looking at schools in bordering states (Illinois and Tennessee specifically) and universities in Missouri that are 3+ hours away from St. Louis. I know that there are many factors that go into the universities that students ultimately choose, but it felt good to see students push beyond the “boundaries” society set for them.
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