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For more information on the Family Learning Center's summer programs, go to or call 303-442-8979.

Boulder's Family Learning Center is partnering with the University of Colorado to create a summer program for high school students that will make sure they're prepared for college-level work and walk them through the application process.

The goal is to enroll 20 to 30 high school students in the pre-collegiate program. The program, in its third year, previously focused on culture and identity.

Brenda Lyle, the Family Learning Center's executive director, said students whose parents didn't attend college or are struggling to make ends meet may not have the knowledge or resources to stay on top of college applications -- putting them at a disadvantage when compared to their more well-off peers.

"If you are a parent, getting your child into college is really often a part-time job," she said. "We really feel like there are a lot of parents that don't quite know how to follow through when their kids get to their junior or senior year."

The summer program is five days a week, from June 17 to July 26. Tuition is charged on a sliding scale. Three days a week will be spent at the Family Learning Center and two days a week at CU.


Lyle said students will identify their top five colleges, then will get help picking the one that best matches their interests and qualifications. Each student will complete an application and then get feedback from CU's admissions office. Students also will write personal essays with the help of a CU professor that can be used for college or scholarship applications.

Students whose grades aren't high enough will get help applying to community colleges and will make a plan to transfer to a four-year university. Students will even get help with letters of recommendation, from identifying whom to ask to creating a list of accomplishments to give to the letter writer.

"We are having kids and families do the whole admissions process," Lyle said. "At the end of the summer, everything is done."

Another goal, she said, is making sure the students are prepared for college-level work. Students who need to improve their grades or want to get ahead can take online classes through the Family Learning Center.

A common complaint of college professors is that incoming freshmen aren't prepared for college. Close to 40 percent of Colorado's graduating 2011 high school class needed remedial classes in at least one subject before starting college-level work, according to a report by the Colorado Department of Higher Education.

"We want to make sure we're working on a positive solution to get kids prepared," Lyle said.

Alphonse Keasley, director of CU's Minority Arts and Sciences Program, is working with Justina Boyd, CU's Center for Multicultural Affairs coordinator, to put together the CU side of the program.

Keasley said his goals include helping students understand why college is important, beyond just getting a job, and what they'll need to do to be successful in college.

"We want to give them even more information that they would have ever expected to get," he said. "It's pretty exciting. We want to really prepare students for going on to college."

Lauren Reeves, a senior at Boulder High, plans to enroll in the summer program.

She said the Family Learning Center already has helped her decide to enroll at Front Range Community College, where she can complete basic classes and improve her GPA. The next step is to apply to her dream school, Xavier University of Louisiana.

The pre-collegiate Family Learning Center program, she said, would help her write scholarship essays. Plus, she said, "It helps you figure out who you are and what you want to do.

"It helps you get ahead in life with people who really want to see you succeed," she said.