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Reverend Pinckney College Readiness Program Takes Lowcountry Students to Upstate Colleges on Visionaries College Tour

May 22, 2019 by CCF

Before high school students get to the point of choosing which colleges are right for them, they should know how many options and opportunities are out there.

But it’s not always easy for students and their parents to set up their own college tours and arrange the travel plans to hop from one college campus to another. That’s where CCF’s Reverend Pinckney College Readiness Program came in last month.

The program’s leader, Zahra Gauthier, helps 23 high school juniors in Charleston, Beaufort and Jasper counties navigate the often-complex process of preparing for, applying to and selecting the right college. Based in CCF’s main office in Charleston, Zahra helps these students with everything from ACT/SAT test preparation to financial aid lessons to get them ready for the next step in their educational journeys. Earlier this month, she arranged the first-ever Visionaries College Tour to show them what some of their in-state college options could be.

On a recent weekend, she boarded a charter bus with 17 high schoolers in the program and four parents from Charleston and Beaufort Counties to visit Wofford College and the University of South Carolina Upstate.

Students took tours of the two colleges and were encouraged to ask questions about each institution. They learned about scholarships, majors and study abroad opportunities as they toured the campuses and residence halls. The students filled out anonymous surveys on the way home to offer feedback about the experience. Here are just a few of the insights they shared.

“I believe I gained a better realization of what I want from a college. Dorms matter, student life matters. I’m now better prepared to find my dream school,” said one student from Beaufort County.

Students also learned what was important to them when searching for schools and how to use that information in future visits.

“I gained knowledge on what type of questions to ask,” a Beaufort County student said.

Parents of students in the program were excited about how the Visionaries College Tour impacted their children’s educational decisions.

“I want my daughter to get a degree but also feel safe and enjoy her college experience,” a parent from Charleston County said. “It’s good to visit colleges to see what they have to offer and actually see where you will be living for four years or so and making the right choice for yourself.”

Through the Visionaries College Tour, students were able to engage with the institutions they could very well attend but had not necessarily visited. A special thanks to our Reverend Pinckney Scholar donors for funding this essential program that helps Lowcountry students gain a better understanding of what their educational futures hold.

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