Since it was founded in 1988, Ohio State's Young Scholars Program has helped nearly 800 students become first-generation college grads.
That track record was recently recognized by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, which gave the program its prestigious C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Award. The award, one of the highest honors a community engagement program can earn, comes with a $20,000 stipend.
Young Scholars serves academically talented students from Ohio's nine largest urban school districts. The promise to students: participate fully and you will go to college. Students who meet program standards are guaranteed admission to Ohio State--and through program funding and other sources, they receive full scholarships.
"Ohio State takes great pride in partnering with our communities across the state," says Interim President Joseph A. Alutto, who is a first-generation college graduate. "The Young Scholars Program is a clear example of the outstanding things that can happen when universities and communities work together to give young people an opportunity to succeed."
Young Scholars programs run the gamut and are designed to help students succeed academically, personally and in their careers. A Summer Academy, for example, gives students the chance to spend two weeks on campus, where they live in dorms, go to classes and meet faculty. It's also a chance for students to connect with a community of academically focused peers.
"I meet these people who are going through the same things I'm going through, and we have the same goals," says Nigeria Gould, a Cleveland high school senior and a Young Scholar. "We want to go to OSU."
Young Scholars serves not just students, but also their families. The program encourages parents to become more involved in their children’s learning, and hundreds of Young Scholars parents and siblings have earned G.E.D.s and college degrees.
“The Young Scholars Program truly represents Ohio State’s land-grant mission by creating a pathway for talented students to achieve their goals and empowering those students to be role models for their families and communities,” says Valerie Lee, vice president in the Office of Outreach and Engagement and vice provost in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. “We are honored that APLU has recognized the incredible accomplishments of the program, our students and our partner school districts.”
(Feeling inspired? Pay forward: Support the Young Scholars Development Fund.)