DETROIT — The University’s Detroit Center, located on the edge of downtown, held a seminar Saturday to educate mentors of Detroit youth about the college admissions and enrollment process.
The Detroit Center partnered with the University’s Center for Educational Outreach, Office of Undergraduate Admissions, Office of New Student Programs and Office of Financial Aid to present a series of lectures aimed at informing mentors about college preparation, finding the right school, procuring financial aid and adjusting to college life. The center also reached out to Big Brother and Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit to help volunteers better understand how to best serve their mentees.
Feodies Shipp III, associate director of the Detroit Center and a former University admissions officer, spearheaded the educational initiative. Shipp said the center chose to reach out to mentors rather than directly to high-school students because the mentors already have a close relationship with mentees who they can prepare for college.
“This is aimed at people who care about young people and want to be able to see themselves as a resource to help young people be successful later in life,” Shipp said.
The college-bound audience ranged from elementary- and high-school teachers to parents of young people, as well as students considering applying to college.
The event started with two presentations by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions on finding a the right college for a student’s needs, how students can prepare for college during high school and what the application process entails.
The presentations encouraged students to start thinking about college early and to find the right college for them — as opposed to only thinking about popular schools.
“You want to be able to put yourself in the best situation to advance yourself as far as possible,” Shipp said.
Ann Hower, director of the Office of New Student Programs, discussed how to best prepare students to transition into a college lifestyle. She said it’s important mentors ease students’ concerns about adjusting to college life.
Deric Williams, assistant director of outreach at the Office of Financial Aid, concluded the event with a presentation on how to pay for college. He explained the variety of options available to students, including student loans, scholarship opportunities and financial aid.
Detroit resident Alecia Carter, whose son is in 11th grade, thought the event was very helpful in educating her about the college admission process.
“I feel more informed than I did before I got here,” Carter said. “I’m ready to make some decisions, and I know which way I’m headed.”
Shipp said he believes the University does a good job of informing students from Detroit about the college admissions process and preparation, but said it does not have the “flexibility” to admit students in the manner it would like to.
After a constitutional ban on considering race and gender in college admissions that passed in 2006, the University has been barred from considering race as a factor in the admissions process. In order to counteract the subsequent decline in enrollment of underrepresented minorities, the University has worked on alternative outreach programs to encourage students from these groups to apply.
“I think the Detroit Center’s goal is to continue to provide exposure to University life to the residents of the city Detroit, and I think that continuing to have exposure to aspects of the University of life, you will entice individuals to try and take part in it,” Shipp said.