“PERSONAL STATEMENT”

November 27, 2018 at 5:15 am

Three teens aspire to become the first in their family to go to college. We have their “Personal Statement.” For more information, click here. 

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Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America is a multi-platform public media initiative that provides a deeper understanding of the impact of poverty on American society. Major funding for this initiative is provided by The JPB Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Ford Foundation.

Aired November 26, 2018.

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>> ONE OF THE MAIN BARRIERS
KEEPING LOW INCOME STUDENTS OUT
OF COLLEGE IS THE LACK OF SCHOOL
COUNSELORS IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS,
LEAVING MANY OF THE KIDS ON
THEIR OWN TO NEGOTIATE
APPLICATIONS, FINANCIAL FORMS,
AND THE PERSONAL STATEMENTS.
THOSE ESSAYS MOST NEED TO SUBMIT
AS PART OF THEIR APPLICATIONS.
TO COMBAT THE GUIDANCE GAP, MANY
SCHOOLS TURNED TO PEER COLLEGE
COUNSELORS.
HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS WHO ARE
APPLYING TO COLLEGE THEMSELVES.
A NEW DOCUMENTARY, PERSONAL
STATEMENT, FOLLOWING THROUGH
BROOKLYN HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS
WHO ASSUMED THAT RESPONSIBILITY,
EVEN AS THEY NAVIGATE THEIR OWN
SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGES.
HERE'S A LOOK.
>> WE STARTED TO LOOK AT SOME OF
THE DATA IN SOME SCHOOLS, 700
STUDENTS HAD ONE GUIDANCE
COUNSELOR.
>> THREE HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS
REALIZED THAT GETTING INTO
COLLEGE IS GOING TO BE TOUGH.
>> SHE'S LIKE, YOU MIGHT NOT GET
ACCEPTED ANYWHERE.
>> THEIR SCHOOLS HAVE FEW
RESOURCES.
THEIR FAMILIES OFTEN CANNOT
HELP.
BUT THEY'RE DETERMINED.
[ SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE ]
>> AS PART OF OUR INITIATIVE,
CHASING THE DREAM, POVERTY AND
OPPORTUNITY IN AMERICA, WE'RE
NOW JOINED BY JULIAN DRESNER.
THANK YOU FOR JOINING US TODAY.
>> THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.
>> FIRST OF ALL, HOW DID THIS
DOCUMENTARY COME ABOUT?
WHAT DID YOU DECIDE TO ATTACK
THIS PARTICULAR SUBJECT?
>> AS YOU KNOW, COLLEGE ACCESS
AND EDUCATIONAL INEQUITY ARE
SOME OF THE MOST IMPORTANT CIVIL
RIGHTS ISSUES OF OUR TIMES.
I WAS INTERESTED IN MAKING A
FILM THAT ADDRESSED THOSE
ISSUES.
AND WHEN I LEARNED THAT THERE
WERE YOUNG PEOPLE IN NEW YORK
CITY WHO WERE STEPPING UP TO
FILL THE COLLEGE GUIDANCE GAP IN
THEIR SCHOOLS BY WORKING AS PEER
COLLEGE COUNSELORS, I THOUGHT
WHAT BETTER WAY TO UNDERSTAND
THE BARRIERS THAT THEY FACE BY
FOLLOWING YOUNG PEOPLE WHO HAD
TAKEN IT UPON THEMSELVES TO
BECOME THE VERY RESOURCE THAT
THEY DIDN'T HAVE ACCESS TO,
COLLEGE COUNSELING, AND TO
FOLLOW THEM AS THEY TRIED TO
SURMOUNT THOSE BARRIERS, NOT
ONLY FOR THEMSELVES, BUT FOR
EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEIR
CLASSMATES, AS WELL.
>> THE KIDS ARE AWESOME, AND
WE'LL SPEAK ABOUT THEM IN A
SECOND.
BUT PLEASE EXPLAIN WHY PAYING
FOR SCHOOL COUNSELORS SEEMS TO
BE SUCH A LOW PRIORITY IN A
PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM.
IT DOESN'T SEEM TO MAKE SENSE.
>> FIRST OF ALL, I JUST WANT TO
POINT OUT THAT THIS IS A
NATIONAL ISSUE, IT'S NOT JUST A
NEW YORK CITY PROBLEM.
>> THAT WAS GOING TO BE A
QUESTION.
>> MOST PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN OUR
COUNTRY DON'T HAVE ANY COLLEGE
COUNSELORS.
THEY OFTEN HAVE SCHOOL
COUNSELORS, BUT THOSE SCHOOL
COUNSELORS DO A LOT OF -- TAKE
ON A LOT OF DIFFERENT IMPORTANT
ROLES.
IN ADDITION TO COLLEGE
COUNSELING.
THE AVERAGE SCHOOL COUNSELOR HAS
ABOUT 22% OF THEIR TIME TO FOCUS
ON COLLEGE COUNSELING.
BUT THE MOST OUTRAGEOUS THING IS
THE RATIO OF STCHOOL COUNSELORS
TO STUDENTS IS 1 TO 490.
THAT IS SOMETHING THAT EVEN
THOUGH THERE IS A NATIONAL
DIALOGUE ABOUT THE ACHIEVEMENT
GAP, ABOUT COLLEGE ACCESS IN
GENERAL, FOLKS ARE NOT REALLY
FOCUSING ON THE FACT THAT WE ARE
NOT PROVIDING COLLEGE COUNSELING
IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS WHERE IT'S
ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT FOR PUBLIC
SCHOOLS THAT ARE EDUCATING YOUNG
PEOPLE WHO WOULD BE THE FIRST
GENERATION TO GO TO COLLEGE IF
THEY WERE TO GET THERE.
LOW INCOME STUDENTS.
95% OF ALL HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS
HAVE COLLEGE ASPIRATIONS.
BUT ONLY ABOUT 16% OF LOW INCOME
STUDENTS ARE GETTING A COLLEGE
DEGREE, EVEN THOUGH 95% SAY THEY
WANT TO GO TO COLLEGE, IT'S ONLY
16%.
AND ONE OF THE MAIN REASONS THAT
WE'RE OFTEN NOT FOCUSING ON, BUT
WE HOPE THE FILM WILL SHED LIGHT
ON, WE ARE NOT PROVIDING THE
COLLEGE COUNSELING THAT STUDENTS
NEED WHILE IN HIGH SCHOOL,
BECAUSE THE COLLEGE PROCESS,
ESPECIALLY THE FINANCIAL AID
PROCESS, IS MORE COMPLICATED NOW
THAN EVER.
>> WE SEE THAT IN YOUR FILM, BUT
WHEN YOU SAY FOLKS AREN'T
FOCUSED ON THIS, WHAT FOLKS ARE
YOU TALKING ABOUT, THAT SOMEBODY
LIKE ME IS NOT FOCUSED ON IT,
BUT THAT TEACHERS AREN'T FOCUSED
ON IT?
THAT SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENTS
AREN'T FOCUSED ON IT?
>> IT MAKES NO SENSE, AND
AFTER -- BUT PEOPLE SEE OUR
FILM, AND THEY HEAR THESE
STATISTICS, AND THAT THE AVERAGE
RATIO IS ONE COUNSELOR TO 490
FOLKS, THEIR JAWS DROP.
BUT THEY HAVE NOT HEARD THE
STATISTIC BEFORE.
PEOPLE ARE GENERALLY NOT AWARE
OF IT.
SO THE FOLKS WHO ARE MAKING
DECISIONS ABOUT WHERE WE PUT OUR
RESOURCES FOR EDUCATION, WHAT IS
FUNDED, WHAT ISN'T FUNDED IN
PUBLIC SCHOOLS, THOSE ARE THE
FOLKS WHO WE HOPE WILL SEE THE
FILM AND WILL RETHINK THIS.
ONE ANALOGY THAT I USE IS THAT,
YOU KNOW, IMAGINE IF -- THIS IS
NOT HARD TO IMAGINE, YOU NEED TO
KNOW MATH TO GRADUATE HIGH
SCHOOL.
BUT IMAGINE IF WE SAID YOU NEED
TO KNOW MATH, BUT WE'RE NOT
GOING TO FUND MATH TEACHERS.
MAYBE SOMEBODY AT HOME CAN TEACH
YOU MATH.
FIGURE IT OUT, YOU NEED IT TO
GRADUATE, BUT IT'S ESSENTIALLY
THE SITUATION WE HAVE WITH
COLLEGE COUNSELING.
>> IT'S AN IMPORTANT FILM.
THANK YOU FOR MAKING IT AND
JOINING US TO TALK ABOUT IT.
>> THANK YOU.
>> PERSONAL STATEMENT WILL AIR
ON WNET 13.
PLEASE CHECK YOUR LOCAL LISTINGS
FOR AIR TIMES.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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