Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

Five local students selected to reach for College Horizons

By Lailani Upham

PABLO — The Salish Kootenai College Upward Bound college prep program for high school students are sending off five Upward Bound students from the area to a very selective national college preparatory summer program.

SKC’s Upward Bound instructor Joanne Morrow says the most students they had participate in the program for one summer were three. “We are especially excited that all five of our applicants were accepted for this June.”

The program, College Horizons is an organization in New Mexico that supports Native students in the U.S. with higher education opportunities by providing college and graduate admission workshops.

According to the organization, of the 2,000 students that have gone through the program so far, 99 percent have been admitted to colleges and universities. Not only have the past participants been admitted but also 95 percent have completed at a four-year institution and 85 percent have graduated from college in four to five years.

Students that have been selected are brothers Paden and Nikko Alexander of St. Ignatius High School; Mahalia Hendren, a junior at Arlee High School; Samuel Bixby; and Ronan High School sophomores Samuel Bixby and Angela North Piegan.

Morrow says SKC Upward Bound first heard of the program in 2007 and students have applied and been accepted each year. This year has been the largest number to attend. Throughout the entire selection each summer College Horizons chooses 200 students from applications that are received across the nation.

Morrow says that the application process is pretty intense and that the challenge is high. “Students must have a 3.0 academic GPA. Only core courses are counted. Electives such as P.E. or shop are not counted in the GPA scoring for the program.”

Applicants are also scored on their essay writing and letters of recommendation from instructors of core courses, such as math, English, or history.

“College Horizons is an amazing program. Students get to meet admissions representatives from elite schools in the country such as, Brown, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, Yale and Stanford,” Morrow added.

College Horizons say the organization understands that Indian country is vast with 310 reservations and 40 Indian statistical areas, with 29 located alone in Oklahoma, plus 200 Alaska Native villages, and over 563 federally recognized tribal nations and more than 200 state recognized tribal nations; and yet Native students are the most underrepresented minority population on college campuses, therefore extending with workshops to assure Native students success through college.

“College Horizons is not completely a free program, however it is affordable,” says Morrow. SKC Upward Bound program offered assistance with the $250 tuition fee and $10 application fee for the students in need. The $250 covers the six-day stay with meals. Students are responsible for transportation costs however partial and some full scholarships are available says Morrow.

Students will work with college admissions and counselors in a five-day crash course and research their choice of ten colleges and complete college admission essays, resumes, and a Common Application. They also must fill out a preliminary FAFSA and receive interviewing skills and test taking strategies for the ACT and SAT and learn about scholarship information.

Paden and Nikko Alexander and Samuel Bixby will be attending College Horizons at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, June 10 – 15. Mahalia Hendren and Angela North Piegan will be attending the College Horizon program at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia from June 24 – 29.

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