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Making college exploration easier

CMU receives grant to help Detroit area youth find success after high school

Contact: Heather Smith

​Making decisions about college is about to get easier for high school students in Southwest Detroit. Central Michigan University will help them through the process of choosing a school and introduce them to necessary resources to be successful students through its new TRIO Educational Talent Search project.​

The project and partnership will help 500 students across six schools — and their families — explore opportunities for a college education.

"Education is so important in today's world, but it can be an overwhelming process for any family. We want to provide information for all students and families to be successful and make the right choice," said Primavera Jimenez, director of CMU's TRIO Upward Bound and Talent Search programs. "I want them to know they can all accomplish their educational goals."

TRIO programs — including Educational Talent Search, Ronald McNair Post-Baccalaureate Program and Upward Bound — aim to provide outreach and support for first generation, Pell-eligible undergraduate students or graduate students. The programs were established by President Johnson following the passing of the Higher Education Act of 1965.

In addition to walking students through selection of a college or university, participants will attend workshops and mentoring activities throughout the year. Discussions with mentors and program guides will cover financial aid, student success and career options. Mentors will include CMU students and members of the local community.

Providing student resources from day one

For CMU faculty and staff, helping high school students access college is more than just enrolling them in courses or getting them to class on their first day. The Educational Talent Search project is just one program at CMU and its Office for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion​ to support student success.

Other existing services and programs include student disability services, student success coaching, Upward Bound, McNair Scholars, MI GEAR UP, Pathways to Academic Success, Multicultural Academic Student Services. In August, CMU launched the first year of IMPACT — a two-day event that brings first-year, first-generation and multicultural students to campus the week before fall classes begin. Participants learn more about campus and meet fellow freshmen before participating in Leadership Safari, which is another program research shows helps student settle in to life on campus.

The university's work to provide students with the resources they need has resulted in more freshman students continuing on to sophomore year. In the past year, freshman-to-sophomore retention has increased from 76 percent to 78 percent.

Jimenez says she looks forward to growing CMU's partnerships in southwest Detroit.

"We hope they will continue on and, of course, we hope CMU will be one of their choices," Jimenez said. "However, we educate the students on all of their options. Exploring and choosing a college or university is about finding the right fit."​

Educational Talent Search partner schools are Academy of the Americas, Cesar Chavez Academy High School, Western International High School, Clippert Academy Middle School, Earhart Middle School and Munger Middle School.

CMU was one of just over 400 institutions of higher education nationwide to receive a TRIO Educational Talent Search grant in this round of funding. 

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