Under three new grants totaling $3.3 million, middle school and high school students in the North Texas region will continue to receive support from UNT advisors and students for academic preparation, and the college search, admissions and financial aid process.
Talent Search and G-Force are major components in UNT's involvement in strengthening the college-going culture in the region, encouraging North Texas students to continue their education once they've completed high school, says Sarah Collins, director of the Office of Enrollment Management.
"It is critical to Texas that we continue to develop an educated workforce to support our economic growth," Collins says. "Both of these programs not only help students and parents realize the opportunities a college education presents, but help them navigate the process of selecting a college, as well as the admissions and financial aid process."
While UNT received two grants for its Talent Search program, less than 50 percent of the grant proposals nationwide were funded, Collins says.
During the next five years, UNT's Talent Search programs will serve more than 2,700 middle and high school students with academic enriching services that support career exploration and college readiness. The program receives support from two grants totaling $3 million from the U.S. Department of Education.
Talent Search advisors guide students through the college admission and financial aid process through group workshops, individual meetings and parent interactive presentations.
"Talent Search has helped me get where I am today," says Amanda Johnson, an active UNT Talent Search student and a recent graduate of Denton Ryan High School. "My Talent Search counselor helped me to explore careers and colleges and set goals for my future so that I would have some direction for making decisions. My counselor also helped me complete all of the paperwork for college admissions and educated me about all the steps necessary for enrollment."
Johnson says it also was through her Talent Search counselor that she learned about UNT's Emerald Eagle Scholars program and other scholarships that have made attending UNT possible.
Talent Search has been in existence at UNT since 1985 and has provided services to more than 15,000 students. Currently, UNT's Talent Search programs serve students in middle and high schools within the districts of:
G-Force and Go Center Outreach Initiative
A $300,000 grant extension by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to UNT's Center for Outreach and Community Involvement will allow UNT's G-Force and Go Center Outreach Initiative to help high school students in four counties and eight school districts in North Texas gain a better understanding about college, the enrollment process, financial aid, and scholarships.
Program services are provided by 35 G-Force mentors who are UNT students working in Go Centers in area high schools, funded by the state's Work-Study Student Mentorship Grant.
UNT G-Force president and UNT senior, Shely Vargas, has helped hundreds of high school students prepare for the college enrollment process and also has gained personal skills along the way.
"G-Force has been a life-changing experience for me. I have come such a long way just from being a part of this organization. I've learned to break out of my shell, take risks and become more confident than ever," Vargas says.
The G-Force and Go Center Outreach Initiative has existed at UNT since 2004. In 2010-2011, it provided college access support to more than 5,000 students. This year, G-Force will staff Go Centers in 12 schools during 2011-2012 including:
- Dallas ISD - Thomas Jefferson High School and LG Pinkston High School
- Denton ISD - Denton High School and Billy Ryan High School
- Fort Worth ISD - Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School
- Frisco ISD - Frisco High School and Justin Wakeland High School
- Keller ISD - Central High School
- Lewisville ISD - Career Center East and the Dale Jackson Career Center
- Northwest ISD - Northwest High School
- Prosper ISD - Prosper High School
Buddy Price with UNT News Service can be reached at Buddy.Price@unt.edu.