College persistence and graduation

Research has shown the benefits of a college education – higher income, better health, increased civic participation and greater life satisfaction. That is good news for the 95% of Farther Foundation alumni who enroll in college. But that is not where the research ends, to reap those benefits merely going to college is not enough, graduation is the key (See the article by David Leonhardt in the New York Times blog, The Upshot).

college-selectivity-chartGraduation is far from a given when a student enters college. The national graduation rate hovers around 60% but ranges widely among colleges from 20% – 95%. Furthermore, the college graduation rate for low-income, first generation and under-represented minority students lags behind the overall national average. However, a closer look at the statistics reveals an interesting outcome. When graduation rates at individual colleges are considered, the differences between the overall graduation rates and those for low-income, first generation and under-represented minority students are greatly reduced or nearly vanish (See the research by The Education Trust).

The data clearly shows that regardless of the students’ socio-economic status some schools are better at graduating their students than others. It is important therefore for students to seek admission to those schools that have the best graduation rates. Barron’s Magazine’s Profiles of American Colleges publishes a college ranking guide that sorts colleges into categories of competitiveness. While these rankings can be debated and the alignment with graduation rates is not perfect, there is fairly strong correlation that the colleges ranked as very, highly or most competitive graduate students at a higher rate than those ranked as competitive, less competitive or noncompetitive. The Upshot went even deeper; compiling an index of those colleges it ranked as the best at doing the most for low income students (see the rankings here).

How does this relate to the work of Farther Foundation? We believe that the unique educational experiences we provide to low-income high school students – giving them the opportunity to travel away from home while participating in new experiences – gives them a broader base of knowledge and the confidence to apply to and gain admission to the best and most appropriate college for them. Research from The Education Trust found that low-income students were less likely than their higher-income counterparts to enroll in colleges in the upper half of selectivity and performance. In research specifically with Chicago Public School students, The University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research found that 7 of the 10 most frequently attended colleges by CPS students have graduation rates less than 50%. Additional research indicates that CPS students tend not to seek out colleges that best align with the upper range of their abilities and qualifications.

Farther Foundation students are charting a different path. Not only are 95% of our students enrolling in college directly upon graduation from high school, but 96% of those students are graduating or remain on track to graduate from college. No doubt the college persistence shown by our students is due in great measure to their own character and capacities. However, their college choices seem to reflect a boldness and confidence that exceeds even their high achieving peers. 79% of Farther Foundation students attend colleges in the top three categories of Barron’s rankings – Very Competitive, Highly Competitive and Most Competitive. Our students’ ability to be aware of their options, and their confidence to seek out the best and most appropriate college, puts them on the path to success. We believe (and they believe) that the educational travel experiences made possible by Farther Foundation contributed greatly in fostering the knowledge and confidence that influenced their college decisions and will continue to be a positive influence in all of their future achievements.

You can help. Farther Foundation and the students we serve depend on the tax deductible donations from people like you to make these life changing experiences possible. Visit our website to make a donation online.

Farther Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization providing scholarships to low-income students to inspire them to reach their highest aspirations through educational travel experiences.

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Go Farther and Discover

Uriel is a standout student at De LaSalle High School. He was recommended to us by our partners at HighSight because he wanted to go abroad on a service trip last summer. Farther Foundation helped Uriel travel to Ghana on a cultural immersion and service program run by Putney Student Travel.

Uriel shared a little of his experience with us:uriel-4

“The sun is as strong as it has ever been. It was hard to breathe because of the smell that lingered around the markets because of the fish and other livestock being sold. It was definitely an uncomfortable month without having the luxury of an a/c and running water. Mornings would always be humid in the bunk house and nights would be cold at the dinner table. There was never a perfect temperature but it was just something that you would get accustomed to. The environment and the people would help you get through it. Knowing that the person right next to you has also not taken a long hot shower and is sweating as much as you can be comforting. Doing community service in Ghana, West Africa was definitely an eye opening experience.”

His trip leaders with Putney Student Travel thought highly of Uriel as well. They wrote:

“We were so proud of Uriel for coming on this journey. There were a lot of firsts for him: first time flying, leaving the USA, seeing an ocean, to name a few. Those little things really captured for us the idea of “going beyond,” which he did so well and was thrilled to have experienced.

Uriel was awarded our MVT — Most Valuable Traveler. He would constantly ask how else he could help on projects, and interacted with the local community members. He was a great ambassador for Putney and the United States of America. Each day he would blow us away with his unending work ethic, critical thinking skills, and willingness to try new things!

We both had very meaningful and long discussions with Uriel on several occasions. His love for family, devotion to education, and commitment to new experiences greatly impressed both of us. He shared his dreams and aspirations with us and we were just so honored to be part of this eye-opening adventure. Uriel is a very deep thinking person and talking to him and hearing his different stories made an impact on us both.”

You can help. Farther Foundation and the students we serve depend on the tax deductible donations from people like you to make these life changing experiences possible. Visit our website to make a donation online.

Farther Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization providing scholarships to low-income students to inspire them to reach their highest aspirations through educational travel experiences.

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Photo Contest Winners

Each summer, Farther Foundation provides opportunities for deserving high school students to participate in education travel programs across the country and around the world. They return from their experiences more confident, more engaged in their education and eager to pursue a more ambitious set of opportunities in the world.

Our students document their experiences in photos. We select our favorites and award the students prizes for their achievement. Here are the prize winning photos for 2016!

1st Prize

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Lauren went to Spain on a cultural immersion program. She visited the Holi Festival with her host family members and program companions.

2nd Prize

christopher_1Christopher explored Tanzania and met local Tatoga residents. Here his face is painted in a way that would typically precede branding.

3rd Prize

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Kameren was elated with her experience studying engineering in a summer program at the University of Texas in Austin.

Congratulations to our photo contest winners!

You can help. Farther Foundation and the students we serve depend on the tax deductible donations from people like you to make these life changing experiences possible. Visit our website to make a donation online.

Farther Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization providing scholarships to low-income students to inspire them to reach their highest aspirations through educational travel experiences.

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Essay Contest Winners

Each summer, Farther Foundation provides opportunities for deserving high school students to participate in education travel programs across the country and around the world. They return from their experiences more confident, more engaged in their education and eager to pursue a more ambitious set of opportunities in the world.

They also return with stories to share with us. All of our students write essays that tell us about their experiences, what they learned and how they have grown. We select our favorites and award the students prizes for their achievement. Here are excerpts from our prize winners this year!

1st Prize

Shayna traveled to Germany on a cultural immersion exchange program.shayna-pre-photo

“If it wasn’t for Bavaria, I doubt I would’ve ever been able to truly understand peace, for all that it is and does for a person. I doubt I would’ve ever had the opportunity to learn that being comfortable isn’t a warning sign. I doubt I would’ve ever believed that peace could last for longer than an ignorant moment. I never knew that peace could be so disarming, something so gentle and sweet. I never thought accepting peace would be something I’d have to learn, but I’m so happy that I did.”

2nd Prize

Jazmin participated in a pre-college neuroscience program at Brown University.jazmin-1

“It felt a lot differently than I thought, after all it was a plastinated brain. Not one oozing with blood, lipids, and other liquids. It was dry, rough, and not at all squishy, which was a relief because I might have fainted if it was. In the end, I learned that I am mentally ready to live on my own as a college student. I also learned that I do wish to pursue majoring in neuroscience because the brain fascinates me both on a 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional scale.”

3rd Prize (Tie)

Nora explored her passion for drama at Boston Universitynora-2

“This summer, I spent five amazing weeks studying theatre at Boston University. In the third week, our teacher gave us an assignment. ‘Pick out a topic from a newspaper article that you feel is important to talk about.’ When one of my classmates chose a piece about gun violence, it triggered horrible memories and great sadness for me. In November of 2015, I lost my friend to gun violence.  She was, simply, ‘in the wrong place at the wrong time.’ Her death rocked me. Now I know I can use my voice, my theatre skills to promote social change, social awareness. I can take all that emotion, all that feeling and put it into my work. And hopefully my performance will drive awareness on issues that are important.”

3rd Prize (Tie)

Vanessa went to Ecuador where she participated in service programs and explored the local culture.

vanessa-1“I feel that I left half of myself in Ecuador — the part of me that would always hold me back from doing amazing things. Others noticed this difference too. I shed the person who was nervous about doing new things, amazing things, such as trying new foods, like seafood, or challenging myself at school by signing up to join new clubs and the flag football team. Before, I figured I shouldn’t join too many things because it would be difficult to keep up with homework, but I have found that it helps me to manage my time more wisely, and most importantly becoming more independent.”

Congratulations to our essay contest winners!                                

You can help. Farther Foundation and the students we serve depend on the tax deductible donations from people like you to make these life changing experiences possible. Visit our website to make a donation online.

Farther Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization providing scholarships to low-income students to inspire them to reach their highest aspirations through educational travel experiences.

Go Farther!

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Why we do what we do

Farther Foundation’s annual event, StorySlam: A Benefit for Farther Foundation, is coming up on Thursday, October 6. You can learn more about the event and get tickets here. But sometimes amidst all the excitement and promotion of the event we forget to talk about why we do what we do.

Here is an example.

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Cherese earned a scholarship from Farther Foundation in 2010, the summer after her freshman year of high school. She had the opportunity to join a program with a group of other students from isolated and low-income communities where they would spend days living and working on a tall sailing ship. The program provided opportunities for self-exploration, team building and leadership training. As you can see from the photo (our apologies to Cherese) the days could be draining.

But providing opportunities to take on the challenges of new environments and experiences is what Farther Foundation is all about. Our students become inspired by what the world has to offer, they gain the confidence to succeed in new and diverse situations and they have the determination to reach their highest potential.

We just heard from Cherese a couple of weeks ago. It’s been six years since she got off that sail boat. Cherese let us know that she went on to graduate from Simeon Career Academy High School as Valedictorian and won a Gates Millennium Scholarship. She then enrolled at Millikin University where she is now a senior with a chemistry research major. She spent the past summer finishing her research with the American Chemical Society while also helping to teach STEM subjects to high school students. In addition, Cherese is the vice president of her sorority, the president of the Multicultural Student Council, the vice president for the Multicultural Greek Council and a mentor to first year students.

Cherese has proven to be exceptional, but not altogether atypical for a Farther Foundation student. There are exceptional students everywhere who lack only the opportunities and resources to inform and elevate their aspirations and give them the confidence and inspiration to reach their highest potential.

You can help. Farther Foundation and the students we serve depend on the tax deductible donations from people like you to make these life changing experiences possible. Visit our website to make a donation online.

Farther Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization providing scholarships to low-income students to inspire them to reach their highest aspirations through educational travel experiences.

Go Farther!

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A College Experience – Go Farther

You can help. Farther Foundation and the students we serve depend on the tax deductible donations from people like you to make these life changing experiences possible. Visit our website to make a donation online.

Farther Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization providing scholarships to low-income students to inspire them to reach their highest aspirations through educational travel experiences.

Go Farther!

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Summer Learning Matters

National Summer Learning Day is Thursday, July 14. According to the National Summer Learning Association:

SLD-logo-500px“Summer learning loss, the phenomenon where young people lose academic skills over the summer, is one of the most significant causes of the achievement gap between lower and higher income youth and one of the strongest contributors to the high school dropout rate. For many young people, the summer “opportunity gap” contributes to gaps in achievement, employment and college and career success.”

Farther Foundation provides resources and opportunities for students from low-income families to participate in educational travel programs across the country and around the world.

Right now, with the aid of Farther Foundation scholarships, 27 students are fanned out across the globe. Christopher is in Tanzania exploring the natural environment and learning about the native culture. Gabriella is providing community service in India. Enrique is studying with top students at Princeton, and Adrian attends a pre-college law program at Brown University.

The students we work with do not lack intelligence, ambition or motivation. What they lack are opportunities and resources. Given the opportunities, Farther Foundation students are achieving academically at far greater rates than their peers, and they are coming home to be role models and inspirations for their families, friends and classmates.

You can help. Farther Foundation and the students we serve depend on the tax deductible donations from people like you to make these life changing experiences possible. Visit our website to make a donation online.

Farther Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization providing scholarships to low-income students to inspire them to reach their highest aspirations through educational travel experiences.

Go Farther!

Leave a comment

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