Texas College Night encourages students to find the right fit for higher education

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More than 1,000 HISD high school students met with admissions representatives from a variety of colleges and universities Tuesday at Texas College Night at the University of Houston.

Students learned about college admissions requirements, academic programs, and financial aid and scholarship opportunities at Texas’ top colleges and universities such as UH, the University of Texas, Texas A&M University, and Sam Houston State University.

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“I wanted to get more in-depth information about admissions and academics at different universities in Texas,” said Westbury High School senior Afolabi Joseph, who is planning to attend college at UH. “I didn’t know about all the different schools within the University of Houston, like the Bauer College of Business.”

Texas College Night, organized by the district’s College Readiness Department, included a college fair and workshops on honors colleges and Naviance, an online tool available to all HISD middle and high school students to explore and apply to colleges, search scholarships, review academic progress, and design high school plans.

“It’s extremely important that we provide opportunities for kids from every school to understand what’s available – scholarships, colleges,” said HISD Board of Education Trustee Paula Harris, who encouraged students to research colleges, set goals and apply to colleges early. “HISD has won when we get kids on college campuses, being successful, and onto their careers.”

During the event, students heard from a panel of HISD alumni, who shared their story on transitioning from high school to college and into the workforce.

“My mom and dad didn’t earn a (high school) diploma …I just felt like there was no other option but to succeed,” said Chakeitha Phelps, a graduate of Booker T. Washington High School and one of the first in her family to attend college. The UH graduate is now a financial reporting analyst with a Houston chemical company.

Sixty percent of students who graduate from high school come from low-income households, said Texas Sen. Rodney Ellis, the event’s keynote speaker. Ellis is a graduate of Worthing High School, Texas Southern University, and the University of Texas School of Law.

“Your success in life will not be measured by where you come from,” Ellis said. “It will be measured by where you end up going.”

He advised students to plan out where they want to attend college, research the cost of attending those colleges, and even look into beginning at a two-year college to complete core classes. “Do as much as you can to make sure you’re going to finish at a university in four years,” Ellis said.

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