College prep works best when you start early and involve parents
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College prep works best when you start early and involve parents

El Paso : TX : USA | Jul 11, 2012 at 4:37 PM PDT
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A college preparation course called the "Mother-Daughter Program" gets Hispanic mothers involved in their daughters' college enrollment. The thing that sets program founder Dr. Josie Tinajero's approach apart from others, beyond its startling success rate, is that it starts at an earlier age than many. The younger a person starts thinking about applying to college, the more likely they are to do so when the opportunity presents itself.

The "Mother-Daughter Program," based out of University of Texas at El Paso, first started in 1986, enrolling 33 Hispanic females attending elementary school in El Paso, Texas, according to its site. Difficulties writing and speaking in English in addition to family histories of early school dropouts designated the girls as "at risk" for dropping out, themselves, despite their formidable academic potentials.

Tinajero contacted faculty at Ysleta Elementary and worked with them to produce a series of events for the girls to attend with their mothers involving college preparation. The activities included talks from Hispanic women pursuing various careers, tours of local college libraries and other facilities. The girls sometimes even sit in on university classes.

The results surpassed all expectations. 26 out of the original 33 girls who participated in the program ended up enrolling in college after they finished high school. After enrollment, the girls exceeded the average for test scores and other observable numbers during the course of their college careers.

While Tinajero's projects focus on Hispanic families and mother-daughter relationships, there is little about the ideas that underlie it that make it exclusive to this community. According to the Mother-Daughter Program's website, it is now open to more than 400 classes and has expanded to include fathers and sons, as well.

Although virtually all parents genuinely wish for the wellbeing and prosperity of their children, they may have a hard time admitting to themselves and others that they may have the best information and resources at their disposal. "Perhaps I don't know as much about this as I should, but I know that it is a good decision for you," is a difficult argument for parents to make to their children on whether or not to attend college. An easier and more sensible one is "Let's learn about this, together."

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Mother-daughter college prep program2
Mother-daughter college prep program
JackGrauer is based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America, and is an Anchor for Allvoices.
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