A College Prep Forum for Students of Color

Aug 8, 2017

Fifty students of color from the Des Moines public schools are on Drake University’s campus this week preparing for college. It’s an effort to draw more minorities into higher education.

Wanda Everage, a former Drake University vice provost, addresses students at the inaugural Academic Success Symposium in 2016.
Credit Drake University

Studies have shown students of color are less likely to complete college preparatory courses and advance to higher schooling than their white counterparts. Now in its second year, the Wanda Everage Academic Success Symposium at Drake is designed to wipe out the disparities. It’s named for a former vice provost of student affairs. Courtnei Caldwell attended a year ago and is now beginning her sophomore year at Drake.

“It prepared me for college to stand up in front of a big group and talk to people without really being nervous and to properly present,” she says.

Among the topics taken up during the week-long program are time-management, note taking and career planning. Jalesha Johnson is an East High graduate who attended the week-long program last summer.

“A lot of times going to school I didn’t have to study, I just retained the information to take the test," she says. "I knew I needed better study habits and to learn how to manage my time and be more organized if I were to prepare for college.”

Johnson says she’ll be attending Des Moines Area Community College for the next two years with a plan to transfer to Drake. The Symposium is jointly sponsored by Drake's School of Education and the Des Moines Public Schools.