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  1. Erin Chase on March 20, 2013

    Dear The Prospect,

    This is beautiful. I’m really inspired by your efforts and interested because this is very similar to a project I started about a year ago.

    Back last winter break, I was yearning to understand why I was at Wesleyan and all my high schools friends were spread between a few state and community colleges within a fifty mile radius of my high school. Popular reasons were that those schools are cheaper, closer to family, easy to get into, or places to go to until they figure out what they really want to do with their lives. Those are all fair reasons, but in reflection and conversation with a few of my closer friends, we realized that maybe the actual reasons were that the students at my school had a crappy guidance counselor, were not encouraged to pursue and express their passions, were not motivated to explore a variety of options for college, and were limited in knowledge about financial aid and other information that made all the difference between my twin sister and I attending a less than challenging university in Texas and Wesleyan.

    Torn by this truth that many high school students just don’t have the resources needed to come out of the college process attending a suitable school led us to create Alumni Inspire. The vision of AI was to turn this unfortunate case around starting with my high school. Bringing back alumni and connecting them to the students, we wanted to inspire students towards their passions through in-class guest lectures, leadership workshops, alumni-mentoring, and an annual Alumni Inspire conference. We also wanted to be the resource that parents, teachers, or guidance counselors, for whatever reason, failed to be, and the intention was to have a website very (similar to yours) where students could get fresh advice from alumni in college.

    That’s the basics of Alumni Inspire. We intended to test this model at my high school then take it to others in San Antonio. We were to ambitious though. Still in the planning phases of Alumni Inspire, we aimed to give a full blown conference in four months time. Leading this sort of project with two core team members in Connecticut and the rest in Texas, all still experiencing the novelties of college, yielded more challenges than was worth our efforts. I cancelled the conference a week after spring break and postponed development of Alumni Inspire.

    Alumni Inspire is always in the back of my mind, and I still plan to launch it within the next few years. I work on it from time to time. Over the summer I began writing a college preparation handbook to be distributed to students at my high school in their junior year. Currently I am mentoring a student at a high school in New Orleans in his college process. (I am totally sending him your site as a resource!)

    What y’all are doing here is totally awesome.You have honestly reminded me how passionate I am about this topic. Thanks!

    Sincerely,
    Erin

    • Steven Gu Author on March 20, 2013

      Hey Erin,

      Thank you for your comment and sharing your experience with the college admissions process and in creating Alumni Inspire! It’s incredibly inspiring and motivating that there are other students like you who are critically thinking about our higher education system and finding ways to support the next generation of college students/students pursuing higher education. I can relate with many similar situations where many if my friends did not have the option of going to college or a limited range of colleges due to the lack of resources. I’m looking forward to what you do with Alumni Inspire and your future endeavors. Feel free to keep in contact with us about it!

      Cheers,
      Steven

    • Lily Herman on March 20, 2013

      Erin,

      Thank you so much for your extremely inspiring comment! Alumni Inspire sounds like a dream, and it is my hope that one day all of students will have the information they need to pick the college that best suits them and go for it. I had the same issue at my high school, and now that I think about it, a lot of the problem was that we weren’t having alumni from different colleges come in and talk to students.

      Anyways, I would love to talk to you more about your idea and The Prospect! And we would love to help out all we can with Alumni Inspire!

      Best,
      Lily

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