Did you know that October is College Awareness Month in DC? You may think that most young people know about college. However, the reality is that many young people—especially teen parents—do not have the information they need to make informed choices about their futures. Every member of our 2013 Scholar class is the first in her family to go to college, which means that even if they hadn’t experienced a pregnancy, going to college might not have been in their plans. Additionally, once a young person who is considering college becomes a parent, they are often discouraged from attending or told that it is no longer an option.
But college is an option for teen parents. Our Scholars are proving every day that it is possible for teen parents to not only survive but thrive in higher education. They are some of the hardest working students that you will find anywhere—they know it is essential for them to get their degrees in order to ensure better lives for their children.
All teen parents must receive the message that college is an option. They can be encouraged to dream big for themselves and for their children. To achieve this, we conduct college-readiness workshops across the D.C. region to help inform expecting or parenting high school students about the possibility of attending college. We want them to know that college is an essential step to ensuring economic stability for their families. This year alone, we will conduct at least 39 workshops at 15 schools and community organizations.
“College awareness” is about more than just sharing the importance of a college education with students—they also need the tools and resources to make the goal a reality. That’s why, in our college-readiness workshops, we provide extensive information about the pros and cons of different types of colleges, the ins and outs of the financial aid process, recommendations for how to “make it all work,” and more. We hope our efforts will result in all D.C. area teen parents reaching their full potential!
-Caroline Griswold, Program Manager