For more than 10 years, College Summit West Virginia has been helping make higher education more attainable for 37,000 students who have participated in the program.
The program operates on the philosophy that the most influential person for a 17-year-old is another 17-year-old, so teens are chosen to become “peer leaders” in the program. The summer before their senior year in school, the peer leaders from partner high schools attend an intensive weekend workshop on a college campus. College Summit works with the students to help them understand their potential, to become their own advocates for their futures, get a feel for campus life and understand the basics of getting into college. Those peer leaders then return to their high schools in the fall to help spread the college-going culture.
College Summit President and Chief Operating Officer Jo Smith was in Charleston to tout the program’s success in the state, which includes 83 percent of College Summit students going on to enroll in West Virginia college and universities, and 75 percent of participants enrolling for a second year of college.
“West Virginia is one of our flagship regions,” Smith said. “There is a serious need for it, and there is a desire for West Virginians to keep talent in their own state; there’s a lot of pride there.”
Smith also noted that College Summit West Virginia alumni are particularly passionate and continue to have relationships with the program.