The following is a note from Diane Owen, M.Ed., LPC and Talent Search TRiO Counselor at Ryan High School and University of North Texas TRiO Programs:
Talent Search is a college-prep program that is federally funded through the Department of Education and seeks to support primarily low-income/first generation students in pursuing education after high school. Students must be college-bound and have an minimum G.P.A. of 3.0 by the senior year to remain active.
Students are identified by teachers and counselors as having potential for college and during the school year meet individually and in small groups for college preparation workshops. These workshops include such topics as: academic skill development; course selection; ACT/SAT admissions test preparation; career, college, and major exploration; building a resume; and more! Students are also given opportunities each year to attend field trips to visit colleges in Texas and Oklahoma. Some of these are day trips and some overnight to those outside the DFW area. In the senior year students spend an average of 10-20 hours each with the counselor in individual and group sessions completing paper work for college applications, scholarships, housing, and financial aid. 100% of the seniors in Talent Search are accepted by at least one college.
Many, if not most of these students are not able to attend their “dream college” due to financial limitations. Even if they get accepted and are awarded federal and state grants, the rising cost of tuition limits access to some of the larger and/or private and more competitive colleges – especially if they are not good standardized test takers and don’t meet the high requirements on ACT/SAT tests for the higher dollar institutional scholarships. With the rising tuition, housing, books, and other expenses – laptops are typically a luxury they cannot afford even if they attend locally.
UpTop’s initiative to partner with the Talent Search college-prep program at Ryan by awarding laptops to students identified as having the greatest need through a scholarship and essay process is one more bridge to assist these students in their post-secondary education success! The students are very excited about the UpTop Laptop Scholarships and are busy completing college applications and FAFSAs to meet eligibility requirements for applying!