18:00 PM

Ohio State helping Columbus families create blueprints for going to college

The Ohio State University is helping 80 families design their paths to college as Blueprint: College 2010 gets underway. The program will serve families, both parents and their students, in eight underserved Columbus City Schools in the Linden community – Linden STEM, South Mifflin STEM, Hamilton STEM and Windsor STEM as well as surrounding schools, including Cassady Alternative, Como, Arlington Park and East Linden elementary schools.

The 2010 Blueprint: College begins with a welcome dinner at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday (4/22) at South Mifflin STEM elementary school, 2365 Middlehurst Rd. Media are invited to cover this compelling story by attending the kickoff or upcoming weekly workshops.

Blueprint: College assists elementary school families from Columbus City Schools to create "blueprint plans" to help set the right path toward academic and college success. This year, the program is offered in partnership with “I Know I Can,” a nonprofit access organization serving Columbus City Schools. “I Know I Can” is part of a collaborative effort to create a local “cradle to college” model to promote student success.

“Parents might think that college is a long way off for their 4th grader. There are very specific steps students and parents can take now to gain an early advantage," said Amy Wade, assistant director of early college outreach in Undergraduate Admissions and First Year Experience. “We want to reach these parents and families before high school, and even before middle school, and help them turn college dreams into a reality. A majority of the students enrolled in Blueprint: College will be the first in their family to go to college, so family support and intervention early is absolutely essential to navigating the complex college planning process.”

Families will meet one night a week for five weeks. Parents learn about the benefits and requirements of going to college. They create academic plans for their students, fill out sample college admissions and financial aid applications and learn to use college scholarship resources. While parents participate in the workshops, children attend age-appropriate "College Camp" sessions led by Ohio State undergraduate students.

To make it easier for families to attend, the program also includes weekly dinners prior to the workshops, child care, and bus transportation.

The final event before graduation brings the Blueprint: College families to campus for a tour and faculty-led academic sessions.

Since the program began in 2008, more than 140 Columbus families have graduated. Many families who previously enrolled in Blueprint: College are now attending a new series of workshops, Blueprint: College2.0, to reinforce the lessons learned.

Blueprint: College is one of several partnerships between Ohio State, I Know I Can and Columbus City Schools. The partnership includes college exploration days for middle school students, CCS Baseball Day, and professional development workshops for counselors.

Financial support for Blueprint: College is provided by the Ingram-White Castle Foundation, Ohio College Access Network, and Ohio Tuition Trust Authority.