Peer mentoring to help rising seniors get into college/start the college process

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Helping rising seniors find a college path: Nazareth University is partnering with an organization to do just that.

PeerForward focuses on a peer-to-peer model to help high school students to become college ready. They do workshops all around the country, and this week they are at Nazareth University.

PeerForward is an organization that helps facilitate peer to peer training to help rising high school seniors from all across the country to get ready for college.

“We know the most influential person to a 17-year-old is another 17-year-old,” Managin Director and Program Innovation for PeerForward Raquel Figueroa said.

The workshops are four days long and start with learning the ins and outs of the college admissions process. They then go on to learn about financial aid and work on their admissions essay among other things.

“I wasn’t receiving a lot of college advice at my school because we were post COVID and this was during the switch over from online to in person. So I really appreciated the support and the information that was coming towards me,” PeerForward Alumni Christion Howson said.

Nazareth University’s Frank Williams says that having peer forward on their campus benefits both of the organizations.

“From last year’s workshop we do have two students that are enrolling full time at Nazareth University coming this fall. So the hope is that we’ll have a larger impact and this year we’ll have even more students coming,” Williams said.

The overall goal of the program is to have these rising seniors become peer leaders during the four day workshop. They then will take that knowledge back to their high schools and help their peers become college ready as well.

“This makes me feel like I’m more involved in the community because I get to see all these other young people’s journeys and how far they’ve come along. And also, helping them helps me. All these college admission tips and these plans and activities help them find themselves and it also helps me in a way. So I’m not only helping them I’m helping myself as well,” PeerLeader Phil Walker said.

For many kids — this isn’t just about college readiness.

It’s about having someone their age on the same path with the same drive to get to talk to.

“For somebody to come here and actually be your friend and listen — I feel like they appreciate it and we appreciate It too. It’s a very emotional transfer,” Howson said.

Nazareth University said they want to continue this partnership and help future college graduates for as long as they can.