Wyman’s Teen Leadership Program (TLP) goes beyond engaging teens in leadership experiences and adventure activities on Wyman’s campus. For high school juniors in their 4th year of the program, the summer experience includes a ten day college tour across Missouri.The college tour is a necessary component of preparing TLP teens to thrive in life. It gives TLP juniors a chance to meet with current college students to discuss real life college opportunities and challenges as they discover a learning environment that is right for them.
While the tour opens the teens’ eyes to the wide variety of schools available in their own state, it also serves to make college a concrete experience – over 80% of TLP teens have parents or guardians that do not have a 4-year college degree. Through the tour, the juniors—and their parents—gained an awareness of what is involved in being prepared for, applying to, and attending college. Part of their tour addressed financial aid through a FAFSA presentation to parents, providing them with the information they need to acquire additional funding for their teen’s education.
Over the ten days, the teens visited nine schools, including Missouri State University, Southeast Missouri State, Lincoln University, and Ranken Technical College. The tour was intense, said Kristen Yelton, a TLP Americorps member, but after it was over many of the teens claimed that it helped them “feel ready to go to college now.”
“I think the tour really eases [the teens’] anxieties about college. By exploring the different college campuses they seem even more enthusiastic and eager to begin the application process,” Kristen added.
The tour ended with an afternoon of community service at the Salvation Army of Springfield, MO, where the juniors sorted donations and organized the back room. Afterward, Wyman held a bowling party to celebrate the teens’ service and the end of their summer experience. As the juniors return to school this fall, they will continue to attend college access workshops and service learning opportunities, preparing for their them final two years of high school and beyond.
To see more pictures from our rising junior’s summer college tour, check out our album on Facebook!