“The thought of college made me a little nervous and uneasy. It was kind of scary not having my future planned out,” recalls Kailey Tarkett, a recent graduate of Ralston High School and a freshman at College of Saint Mary. Like many students, Kailey heard about College Possible from her school counselor. She did a little research and fell in love with College Possible’s mission. “I did some reflecting,” she said, and realized that because I will be a first-generation college student from a family with a low-income background, there are going to be barriers that I will run into.” She decided to apply to College Possible, seeking coaching and near-peer support while navigating her journey to a four-year college degree.
Through sessions at Ralston High School and with the guidance of her College Possible coach, Kailey was able to kick her test anxiety and engage with other College Possible students. “Preparation for the ACT really paid off for me,” she stated. She is just one of the many students who raised their ACT scores during their junior year of high school. In fact, College Possible students typically raise their ACT scores by 18-21 percent.
Kailey persisted on to high school graduation in May 2018, earning a special certificate and pin for her commitment to community service, as well as an honor roll cord. In the summer after high school, she was accepted into College of Saint Mary’s early entrance program, CSMAdvantage. This program allows up to 25 first-year students the opportunity to move in a week before classes start to get accustomed to campus life and their new surroundings.
Only 38 percent of students from low-income backgrounds who enroll in college ever complete their degree. College Possible is working to change that. For seven years, we have supported students like Kailey on their journeys to and through college, helping them navigate obstacles in their path to a college degree. This is one reason why our students are four times more likely to earn a degree than their peers from low-income backgrounds.
Kailey is overwhelmed with the support of College Possible while tackling college.
“The best part is knowing that my coach, Abbie, is always here for me. She is a consistent friendly face ready to help and connect me to resources that will help me succeed,” Kailey said.
She is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing with a minor in psychology with hopes to enter the workforce and launch her career in a hospital before she takes on her dream of travel nursing.
Kailey, who is also bilingual, has the ultimate goal of opening a health academy for underserved students at Omaha South Magnet High School. “I’m so thankful for College Possible because they have provided me with the tools to get me to college. Without this program, it would have been a lot more challenging. I was able to overcome those barriers with the support I received from my College Possible coaches,” she stated.