A helping friend when you are a stranger in a new environment

By Nicola Fennel TRIO Educational Talent Search Counselor

There is an office at BC for 30 years most do not know of. It says the Educational Talent Search Program on the door in 1428 Ingersoll Hall. They prepare high school kids to attend college. They mentor, tutor, and help counsel and assist participants with applying and registering for the best post-secondary institution that fits.
It is a program for low income and/or potentially first generation college students. A 100% federally funded program providing free services to encourage support participant’s successful enrollment in postsecondary education. They familiarize participants with the college selection, admissions and financial aid application processes. They access career interests and assist them through their career decision-making process to motivate and stimulate interest in those who have not started the process.

The services are to advise, tutorial, prepare for college, financial and economic literacy, guidance in degree attainment, study skills such as DAT and test Preparation Assistance and GED enrollment assistance. Also there is help with essay writing, monitoring their progress and talk to their teachers.

Many are first generation in college, they have no family background to know what to expect. Talent Search allows participants to gain exposure to the college life and atmosphere to disadvantaged students by conducting one day college tours. Every spring 30 out of 729 participants are chosen for the opportunity to visit 6-8 colleges on 4 day 3 night tour. Students are selected from a target group of Brooklyn high schools the program is funded to serve.
TRIO emerged out of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 in response to the administration’s War on Poverty. Initially there were only three programs (Upward Bound, Talent Search and Student Support Services) hence TRIO. Talent Search was created as part of the Higher Education Act in 1965. Over the years, the TRIO Programs have been expanded (Educational Opportunity Centers, McNair and Upward Bound Math & Science and Veterans Upward Bound) improved to provide a wider range of services and to reach more students who need assistance. TRIO programs help students overcome class, social and cultural barriers to higher education.
Every year, TRIO Day is the last Saturday of February, but events do not need to be limited to that day. According to the 1986 Congressional resolution, National TRIO Day is meant to focus the nation’s “attention on the needs of disadvantaged young people and adults aspiring to improve their lives, to the necessary investment if they are to become contributing citizens of the country, and to the talent which will be wasted if that investment is not made.”
TRIO Day has been proclaimed a National Day of Service. TRIO programs are encouraged to perform some sort of community service-as a way for TRIO to give back to their community and say thank you for its support. This year Talent Search will celebrate National TRIO Day on Thursday February 23, 2012 on the BC campus. Tutors and mentors are needed to volunteer.


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