<p>The College Advising Corps, a nationwide initiative aimed at increasing college enrollment and graduation among low-income high school and community college students, will celebrate “Decision Day” with nearly 400 Rhode Island public school students planning to pursue higher education on Friday, May 1, 2009.</p>

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Nearly 400 Rhode Island high school seniors will celebrate their plans to pursue higher education as their schools and the National College Advising Corps (NCAC) host “Decision Day” — Friday, May 1, 2009, the day most college-bound students inform schools of their enrollment plans. Events will be held at five Providence-area schools, and at more than 60 high schools nationwide, to congratulate seniors and promote higher education to younger students.

Launched in 2007, the NCAC aims to increase the number of low-income, first-generation high school students entering and completing higher education by providing college application and financial aid guidance to those students and their families. Brown is one of 12 institutional partners across the country. The program is supported by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, ServeRI, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the Howard R. Swearer Center for Public Service at Brown University, where it is housed.

For Decision Day, students from Providence Academy of International Studies, Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School, William E. Tolman Senior High School, Central High School, and William B. Cooley Sr., Health and Science Technology High School will participate in fun and educational activities, including ice cream socials, panel discussions about the transition to college, and raffles they can enter by using college acceptance letters to earn tickets.

Decision Day Schedule, May 1, 2009

9:25 - 10:20 a.m. Providence Academy of International Studies
182 Thurbers Avenue, Providence

Sixty high school seniors will attend a breakfast celebration featuring a panel discussion, a raffle, and materials about preparation for the first year of college.

9:30 – 10:30 a.m. Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School
375 Adelaide Avenue, Providence

At this breakfast, 50 seniors will hear from a URI campus diversity group, receive raffle prizes and materials about the first year of college, and create a display to encourage underclassmen to pursue college.

1:45 - 3:00 p.m. William E. Tolman Senior High School
150 Exchange Street, Pawtucket

One hundred and fifty seniors will enjoy an ice cream social, pose questions to a panel of local college admissions officers, earn raffle tickets through college acceptance letters and activities focused on the transition to college, and receive materials about the first year of college.

3:00 - 4:30 p.m. Central High School
70 Fricker Street, Providence

One hundred students will celebrate with an ice cream social and raffle prizes, hear from a Central graduate who went on to URI, and receive materials about preparation for college.

5:00 – 6:15 p.m. William B. Cooley Sr. Health and Science Technology High School (**CANCELED**)
Providence (event will take place at Brown University, Salomon Center for Teaching)

Twenty seniors will visit Brown University for an ice cream social, guest speaker, raffle, and panel of students from the Cooley High School class of 2008.

These events are being organized by the schools in partnership with the National College Advising Corps (NCAC) at Brown, an initiative that places recent URI and Brown graduates in high schools full-time to expand college advising support and increase the number of low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented students entering and completing higher education. These 12 “College Guides” collaborate with guidance staff, principals, teachers, and others at partner schools to increase the awareness, preparation, and college-going disposition of underserved students.  In addition to the College Guides, Brown University and Providence College undergraduates also assist with individual and group SAT preparation, essay writing, and financial aid programming.

This academic year, the College Guides have worked with 1,148 Rhode Island students in 12 high schools from all six urban school districts in Rhode Island. Approximately 90 percent of participating students assessed by Guides stated they were “definitely” or “very likely” to apply to college at their most recent appointment. The Guides provided PSAT/SAT/SATII information, preparation and/or registration assistance to 784 students through one-on-one and group meetings and college entrance exam preparatory classes. Through Saturday Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) drives in March, co-sponsored the College Planning Center of Rhode Island, the Guides assisted 124 families with completing the FAFSA and other college access information.    

The students were accepted to more than 80 colleges and universities across the country, including Bates College, Boston College, Boston University, Brown University, Bryant University, Middlebury, Northeastern, Providence College, Rhode Island College, Roger Williams University, Rutgers, School of Art Institute of Chicago, and University of Rhode Island.

For information on the National College Advising Corps initiative, visit www.advisingcorps.org. Information on the Swearer Center for Public Service at Brown can be found at www.swearercenter.brown.edu.

Reporters interested in attending Decision Day events should contact Deborah Baum at (401) 863-2478.