Over the past couple of months, MSF has been engaging citizens across the state to hear their thoughts on how to improve education in Mississippi. One of the issues mentioned in several communities is Mississippi’s effort to prepare students for success in college. Many Mississippians believe that more must be done to ensure that students know how to select the right college, how to successfully apply, and how for pay for it all.
It just so happens that local and state officials in Delaware are working on college-access with their “Get to Zero” initiative.
Briefly, this coalition realized that 1,800 of Delaware’s high school seniors were “college ready,” according to their SAT scores, but never applied to college. This represents 20% of all college-ready seniors in Delaware. Through the Get to Zero initiative, leaders worked with local educators, state agencies, and a national network of colleges to reach out to every college-ready student in Delaware to encourage them to apply to college. Their goal was to make sure that no college-ready senior missed out on applying, affording, and attending college.
A blog post from the Rodel Foundation highlighted their results:
The bottom line, we “got to zero.” Every one of those 1,800 students applied to college. This type of work has the chance to change the trajectory for thousands of young people over time as it did for Susan Nye, the focus of The New York Times story. Susan is now a freshman at Stanford with a full scholarship, yet previously had only considered local colleges due to the associated financial expenses.
As we continue to reach out to other teachers and community members, I wanted to pass this along as a potential initiative we could replicate in Mississippi.
Here are the links again for your reference:
- Delaware’s “Get to Zero” Initiative
- Rodel Foundation Blog Post: “Coming Together to Do What Makes Sense for Our Kids”
- New York Times Story: “A Case Study in Lifting College Attendance”
In the months ahead, MSF will continue to reach out to young Mississippians in order to identify important education issues that can guide our future work. We’re engaging with communities through one-on-one meetings, neighborhood house meetings, and meetings with young professional organizations. If you’re interested in participating in our efforts in your own community, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.