Living the College Dream: High-Performing, Low-Income Students Reach for the Nation’s Top Colleges
Mikhail Zinshteyn, EdSource
After finishing 11th grade as the top student in her class this year, Maria Selene Castillo took a summer job where her mom works—a grape field near their home in California’s Coachella Valley. But the soon-to-be senior has big dreams, far beyond the fruit and vegetable fields wedged between a trio of mountain ranges southeast of Los Angeles.
The University of Southern California's Bovard Scholars program is helping Castillo and other academically exceptional high school students achieve those dreams. The three-week, all-expenses-paid, intensive residency for low-income students empowers learners with personalized guidance, accelerated academic support, and information so that they too can gain entry into the nation's elite private and public colleges and universities.
As part of the program, participants learn how to navigate the complex admissions and financial aid process, explore test-taking strategies, find out about tools and resources available on a college campus that support success, and more.