Closing the Gap in Obtaining a College Education
As an independent college admissions counselor at Helping Hand College Guidance, a recent article in the Los Angeles Times struck a chord deep within me. In an article that discusses the disparity in college access between students from low-income families versus those that come from privileged backgrounds, I feel sadness at the inequities that exist in our present education system and hope at making college an expectation for all students in the future.
The article shows two vastly different scenarios, where one high school student is coming from a public school with a predominantly low-income student body and the other student is coming from a mostly wealthy private school, which she has been able to attend on scholarship. The difference in access to college counseling is astounding. At the private school, you have approximately one counselor per 20 students and at the large public high school; you have 1 counselor and an assistant for 368 or so seniors. There is also a difference in enrollment in college after high school; you have approximately 49% of students from low-income families enrolling in college shortly after graduation versus an enrollment rate of 80% of students from families with a high-income.
Why is this important? This story is relevant because if we truly want to elevate the poor to a better quality of life with more opportunities, I believe the first step is through education. It has been statistically shown that college graduates earn more money than those that do not graduate college. By breaking this perpetuating cycle, we can make an advance towards truly creating equal opportunity. I believe that as citizens, it is our responsibility to vote for propositions that support public education; so that we can pay for more counselors, provide parent education, and enhanced college support for students. The process starts in junior high school, when we can set a path to success for these impressionable youth. We want them to ultimately make the right choice – the decision to pursue higher education.
This article is particularly uplifting for a few reasons. It shows that it is never too late to chase a dream, how a single person can alter a student’s life, and how there is more than one road to success. For both Guadalupe and Lizbeth, they are accomplishing their goals. Now we just need to reach more students like them, instilling them with the belief that anything is possible if you work hard for it. As students, parents, and counselors, I believe we can each mentor those students most at risk in some way. Wouldn’t it be rewarding to know, that we had a stake in someone else’s ultimate success?
Pam Ohriner, founder and head counselor at Los Angeles based Helping Hand College Guidance, offers one-on-one college counseling services to freshman, transfer, and international applicants. Our proven track record of success is testament to our ability to encourage, motivate, and inspire youth in the quest to advance their education. Some of the local areas we serve include Pacific Palisades, Beverly Hills, Malibu, Brentwood, Westwood, Sherman Oaks, Encino, Woodland Hills, Manhattan Beach and other parts of the South Bay, and parts of Orange County. If you are out of our local area, we also offer distance counseling through Skype. We provide comprehensive college counseling packages, small packages, and specially designed packages to fit individual needs. Please contact Helping Hand College Guidance at 310-733-8433 or email us directly if you would like further information on our services. We look forward to talking with you!