By Bill Hartog, Dean of Admission, Washington & Lee
Young people today have big dreams. They dream of making a better life for themselves than their parents did before them. They dream of making a name for themselves in the fields of science, politics, literature, business and law. They dream of a life filled with opportunities and options. Often, those dreams start with going to college and earning a degree. For those ready to take that first step, the timing couldn’t be better.
While there will always be a place for the traditional upper middle class student from suburbia, colleges are also aggressively seeking out first-generation college students, multicultural students, low-income students and inner city students to round out their enrolling classes. The school benefits from a more enriching college experience for all of its students and better preparation for those students to become active participants in a pluralistic society after graduation. The benefits for the sought-after student include heightened access to what many previously thought unattainable – a college degree. Starting with all-expense-paid campus visits and fee waivers, and following up with generous grant assistance and scholarships, many colleges and universities are rolling out the red carpet, hoping to attract these underrepresented students to their institutions.
My advice to you is to take advantage. Go on the campus visits; you could find a school that has everything you want and need in a locale you could never have visited on your own. Use the fee waivers; cost should never prevent you from following your dreams. Apply for the scholarships; there is a lot of money available to make college affordable for everyone. And take advantage; college is your entry into a world of opportunities, but only if you take that first step and apply.