Although Erik cared about his grades and wanted to succeed in high school, he never really imagined himself going to college. However, as his older sister explored her college options he tagged along with her and with each campus visit, he began seeing a place for himself there too.
At his high school, he noticed flyers for College Possible and remembered a school announcement about the support the organization provided to students interested in enrolling and graduating college. He quickly applied thinking it would be helpful to have support as he started exploring his next steps. Looking back, Erik is pleased with that decision and the support he received from College Possible.
Since joining, College Possible has helped him learn about, apply and now attend college at Franklin and Marshall College, his dream school.
“My high school College Possible coaches were the best I could have asked for,” he said. “They created an environment I wanted to be in and learn from. They also shared their personal experiences as recent graduates, which I found to be relevant and valuable.”
Succeeding in college is not an easy task. When he first started, Erik experienced culture shock and felt challenged by the academic rigor of college courses. He saw many students transfer out of college, but Erik credits his success thus far to having mentors and support systems, including College Possible, his parents and his high school. “They all prepared me well to keep going and persisting,” he said.
Inspired by College Possible’s work, Erik joined an on-campus organization where he is mentoring high school students. He is thrilled to pay it forward, and share his own experience on the college application process.
As a mentor, Erik tries to strike a balance of being friendly and supportive, while maintaining professional boundaries. This is the same approach his College Possible coaches model, which he appreciates and views as an important element to build trust and prepare students to be successful.
“Applying to college is a very emotional process,” he said. “You are taking a big leap into the next stage of your life and there are a million things coming at you. It’s important to have someone in your corner to help you sort through it all.”
Erik still connects with his College Possible coach regularly and values the support the program provides to him and the knowledge that they are always in his corner.