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Reach Higher initiative connects students to colleges


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

It's now more important than ever to extend one's education beyond high school. First lady Michelle Obama has made it her mission to provide high school students with the information they need to attend college, according to The White House. By exposing students to a college setting, educating them on financial aid opportunities and providing peer support, individuals who may not have considered college are encouraged to "reach higher."

College exposure
As part of the Reach Higher initiative, colleges are encouraged to host local high school seniors on their campus, explained a report from The White House. By experiencing college firsthand through campus visits, shadowing and overnight stays, high school students are motivated to take the next steps in their education. When high school students attend college classes or participate in extracurricular activities such as clubs or sporting events they can better visualize themselves as a part of the college atmosphere. According to the U.S. Department of Education, this year the first lady accompanied students on an "Escape to Mecca" trip to Howard University in Washington, D.C. During the trip, students were given the opportunity to live in the dorms, attend social events and classes and meet some of the faculty.

Financial aid opportunities
There are a number of college financial aid opportunities available for those who can't afford to attend college without financial assistance. The Reach Higher Initiative strives to increase awareness of these options and connects students with grants, scholarships and loans that they otherwise may not have considered. The White House indicated that, especially for individuals who may be the first in their household to attend college, proper financial guidance is incredibly important in helping these students cultivate the dream of a college education.

Peer encouragement
A message can resonate more deeply if it comes from a student's peers. That's why people across all states and college majors are asked to participate in the initiative—specifically, on social media, a platform commonly used young people. The White House reported that part of the initiative's campaign calls on current students and alumni to upload a photo of themselves in their college's apparel to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. By promoting their educational experience and using the "#ReachHigher" hashtag, they can encourage college enrollment among their peers and contribute to the personal and professional success of others.

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