COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJZ)– For some Baltimore students, the path to college starts by reading a map. Admissions officers at the University of Maryland has a new program that shows students how to get into college.

Gigi Barnett explains.

Once a student walks through the hallowed halls of a university like Maryland, College Park, there are many programs designed to keep them here.

But now, admissions officers at Maryland say they have a program to help Baltimore City and County minority students get in.

“We know we have a leaky pipeline from elementary school through middle and high school into universities like this,” Kumea Shorter-Gooden, chief diversity officer at the University of Maryland- College Park (UMD), said. “And often, it is because public schools are under-resourced, counselors are overburdened.”

So the university took $15,000 and created the Maryland Ascent Program (MAP). It helps minority students nail down the application process to college. It’s one-on-one help they may not be able to get from busy high school guidance counselors or even busy parents at home.

“Some of these students may be first-generation students, so mom and dad, and sister or brother have not seen this process. Our goal is to help them see themselves at a four-year institution.” Derick Davis, assistant director for undergraduate admissions at UMD said.

“When I was two, I was actually diagnosed as mentally retarded due to high lead levels,” Da’Kuawn Johnson said.

That’s something an admissions officer may not know about Johnson. He’s a rising senior at the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute who plans to study medicine.

Johnson is already in MAP learning how to write stellar essays and resumes that will make his college application rise to the top.

“We want to help them to ease the pressure and nervousness they may have as a result of the college application process. So we are there for them,” Davis said.

“Admissions officers

Maryland admissions officers say MAP can take only about 50 students altogether and at least 20 spots are still available.

The University of Maryland says this program is a one-year pilot. Students should contact their high school guidance counselor, if interested.


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