Program helps students set college goals and reach them - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Program helps students set college goals and reach them

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Inside Eau Claire High School's library, the conversation isn't about weekend plans or the latest music video. It's about FAFSA forms and acceptance letters.

A program called College Summit is changing students' priorities.

"It showed me what college is all about," said Malcolm Campbell. "It's not just about going to parties to have fun. It's also about going to school, getting your education so you that way you can become someone in life."

College Summit began helping Campbell last summer when he became a peer leader and was chosen for a four-day intensive workshop at the College of Charleston.

"That was my first time going to a college, so it was a great experience for me," said Campbell. "And I learned how to fill out an application properly. I learned how to write essays properly."

Learning how to write an essay or personal statement is one of the centerpieces of College Summit.

"They made us write our essays, and they made get things out that we wouldn't tell anybody else," said Marie Ginyeard. "It was like a revival."

Paired with information about financial aid, the program seems to be working.

"They let us know ahead about financial aid and about having apply for it after Jan. 1," said Ronnie Cummings.

Eau Claire has seen about a 15 percent increase in their college enrollment rate in just six years. And that summer workshop is just one of its components. College Summit is a year-long, hands-on process with dedicated teachers helping thousands of students in the Midlands achieve their college dreams.

"We want to know what you are going to be doing in September of 2013," said College Summit Executive Director Yakima Rhinehart. "And hopefully that's not sitting on your mom's couch by default because you didn't plan. So we want them to have a solid post-secondary plan."

College Summit serves 13 high schools across South Carolina. Eight are located in the Midlands.

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