Connecting to College
No job in our city is more important than giving all our young people the guidance, education and opportunity they need ... to achieve their potential. Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Two decades ago, the major barrier to college for many students was access to capital and scholarships were sufficient to move the nation forward in educating our young people. As our public schools face new challenges, students need methods to effectively bridge the gaps between their high school experiences and the expectations of college. Debate serves as an accelerant for students' learning capacities driving them to reach new heights, improving their self-esteem and creating a gateway for many to structure a pathway to collegiate and careeer success. According to Melissa Wade of the National Debate Project, "Emory University admissions officers love students who enter college with debate skills. "They possess graduate level research skills." The ability of young people to enter college and succeed is a key metric for evaluating the success of the work of ALOUD and its partner programs.
Urban debate communities report that they send more than 75% of their students to four-year colleges ahead of national averages. These communities form partnerships with colleges that provide access to campus facilities and student mentors. Participants acquire the tools to succeed in college.
ALOUD's Connecting to College program capitalizes on the unique difference debate can make in the success of a child. Debaters who have support and are led through a comprehensive system of college access programming are more confident and ready to go to college, what’s more they are more likely to be successful. ALOUD partners host college fairs, financial literacy workshops, college roundtables and develop college management plans to help their students stay in school and make the rights choices. At the same time, colleges who are looking to build stronger ties to the community, diversify their student population and develop ambassadors for their schools view ALOUD partners as an excellent resource with admissions officers and debate coaches descending on events in droves. Components of ALOUD’s Connecting to College model include:
With a ten year track record of success, ALOUD and its leading urban debate partners have developed a program that has met with outstanding success. ALOUD brings debate and youth expression programs to our nation’s most under resourced students, schools and community-based organizations. Participation in debate breeds a hunger for knowledge and achievement and a drive to go to college. ALOUD’s College Connection program provides the needed support to make college a realistic option for our students. In Baltimore since the implementation of BUDL’s comprehensive college access programming over 90% of the league’s seniors are graduating on time and going on to college. In Kansas City graduation rates have topped 90% among debaters exceeding city and national averages. New York urban debate graduates receive millions of dollars of college debate scholarships offers each year.
When students succeed in college, they break the cycle of poverty for future generations and predict success in families for years to come.