Go College looks to enlist more Gannon students

The GO College program is part of a national initiative to provide high school students with the skills and knowledge necessary to prepare for and succeed in college.

Funded by the Council for Opportunity in Education – with the support of the U.S. Department of Education – the GO College program provides its services in Erie, at East, Strong Vincent and Central Tech high schools.

Each high school has 240 students in the program and two councilors to oversee every students’ success. Students must maintain a 2.5 GPA, have a clean behavioral record and participate in community service events to remain in the program.

The goal of the GO College program is to get the involved students to graduate from high school and have a plan for attending a four-year school, two-year school, entering into the trades, or entering into the military.

Last year at Strong Vincent the rate of graduates attending college was 52 percent, but the rate of Strong Vincent GO College graduates attending college was 98 percent.

Barbara Priestap, Gannon University`s high school outreach liaison, said that Go College is more than just a tutoring program, it gives the students knowledge that will stay with them throughout their whole life.

“We aren’t trying to just get the students to go to college,” Priestap said. “We’re trying to help them to sustain what they have learned while in college.”

GO College seeks to help first-generation college students who are from at risk, low income families. The program is free for the students and provides weekly workshops, SAT prep, FAFSA help, career exploration, college visits, application help, dual enrollment in college classes, textbooks for dual enrollment classes, tutors who are available for GO College students and even students not in the program.

Gannon works with GO College by inviting its college students that specialize in various subjects to be tutors. Currently, Gannon has 15 tutors for the program and is involved at Strong Vincent and East.

For the GO College students, these tutors provide academic, emotional and spiritual support. The tutors get the opportunity to gain awareness of needs in the community as well.

The GO College program has been helping students at Strong Vincent for four years and has seen tremendous results in the students who have worked through the program.

GO College has been at East for a year and a half and is looking to expand the current number of tutors helping students. The students and tutors often make profound connections that continue past graduation.

“You can look at the data but it’s the personal experiences that are what is really important,”  Priestap said.

SARAH BARTKOWIAK

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