POSTED: Saturday, November 9, 2013 - 2:00pm
UPDATED: Saturday, November 9, 2013 - 2:04pm
LAFAYETTE, LA — The University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Lafayette Parish School System are taking the lead in a statewide effort aimed at helping every graduate high school senior apply for and enroll in college.
Educators and public officials have announced the launch of the first Louisiana College Application Week, which is part of a larger, national initiative sponsored by the American Council on Education.
The nationwide campaign, which typically takes place during the council’s College Application Week in early November, began in 2005, at one high school in North Carolina.
More than 25 states, plus the District of Columbia, now take part in College Application Week.
The first Louisiana College Application Week will take place in Lafayette Parish Nov. 11-15.
It will involve collaboration between the University, South Louisiana Community College, Lafayette Parish School System and Lafayette Consolidated Government.
The objective is to promote and encourage high school seniors to complete a college application, and help them navigate the entire enrollment and admissions process.
“We know what a difference a post-secondary degree can make in terms of employment and income. We also know that a college education can help change the lives of families, particularly low-income families who have no previous experience with higher education,” said Dr. Joseph Savoie, president of UL Lafayette.
“Lafayette Parish is playing a primary role in piloting this project for the state,” Savoie added.
Of 18 total high schools in the state, all seven high schools in the parish will participate in an effort to promote a “college-bound culture,” said Traci Aucoin of the school system’s Gear Up program, which is facilitating the parish effort.
Gear Up is an acronym, which stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs.
“Preparing students for a post-secondary education starts with the college application. This will also help us create awareness about the importance of furthering your education beyond high school,” Aucoin said.
Dr. Pat Cooper, superintendent of the Lafayette Parish School System, said Louisiana College Application Week efforts will benefit both the education system and the community.
“For many of them, nobody in their families has ever gone to college,” Cooper said.
Lafayette city-parish president Joey Durel said the effort “it gives us an opportunity to remind young adults of what college can do for their lives.”
"We talk almost every day about the importance of college. For our community, there is no doubt what UL brings to Lafayette as an economic engine and attractor and developer of talent, and to the individuals enrolled in college the effects are life changing I often say we want to attract the best and the brightest,” Durel said. “Well, maybe the best and the brightest don’t have to be attracted. They’re right here."