College Dreams at Indianapolis Schools

Written by Patricia Hawke for

Industry experts and leaders in Indiana have long known that the secret to boosting the economic potential of the state lies in developing a skilled international class workforce.  Towards this end, an organization of no profit groups is making efforts that will encourage low income Indianapolis schools students to go to college after graduating from high school. 
The project, called College Summit is the brainchild of a Washington based group that has recently launched its efforts in a few Indianapolis schools.   As part of these initial efforts, a group of students from Indianapolis schools visited the University of Indianapolis and got a first hand look at the enriching nature of a college environment. 
This is how it works– during the program, all the seniors of that Indianapolis school are routinely prepared for furthering their education after graduating from high school. They learn to write resumes, and apply for financial aid. They learn to write personal statements, and pick up the process of applying to colleges. 
So successful has been the first College Summit that was held at the Manual High School that the program is expected to be expanded across other Indianapolis schools.  Out of the four states where the College Summit project is being conducted, Indianapolis schools are the only ones that will see themselves through into the second phase of the program. 
The effects of the program are already being felt across Manual High School which was the first among Indianapolis schools to be accepted into the program.  Not normally known for their enthusiasm for a college education, these students from Indianapolis schools have shown a remarkable zeal for college applications. In fact, as many as 85 percent of the seniors have made lists of colleges where they want to take admission, and about half of the senior student body has actually applied to the colleges of their choice.  Under normal circumstances, just about 11percent of Manual High School, students take part in the SAT test, and this jump in figures has been remarkable.
With businesses across the country, making it perfectly clear that they will consider moving to Indiana or investing here only if there is a skilled work force that will be ready to cope with the needs of a changing economy, Indianapolis schools have it in their best interests to take this opportunity to pave the way for a college education for their students. 
At many Indianapolis schools, college education may not be foremost on students’ agenda, because their parents aren’t college graduates, and education isn’t high on their list of priorities. Through programs like College Summit that mindset could change as more students at Indianapolis schools realize that a college education can open doors to opportunities that a high school degree simply can’t.  This could be especially beneficial to students from low income families in Indianapolis schools who would otherwise not consider a college education, to become proactive about setting their sights higher.