College Summit went well, I think. The kids were better this year than last, even if the campus was abysmal. I learned that 1) modeling is a competitive sport in PG County public schools, 2) the current hip life aspiration of the ambitious is to own a hair salon (last year, it was music production), and 3) being a straight-A student does not preclude totally stupid conclusions, like "Maybe I'll just have a baby instead of going to college because that's what my sisters did." Reinforced from last year was the fact that apparently only rich people want to study liberal arts.
The program has a pretty fool-proof curriculum not unlike the Henry Ford model of production--it breaks down the personal statement into discrete parts so that anyone, no matter how plainly illiterate, can produce something resembling an essay (and, on the other hand, anyone can teach it) in three days. I've discovered that the seeming success of the workshop can create a false sense of optimism. One thinks, "Oh, my students have a finished essay, they filled out a sample application, they met with a college counselor--they are well on their way to college!" But actually, no. Between now and the application deadline this December, they will forget to sign up for the SAT, or to upload the essay they wrote, or to ask for recommendations, or maybe the economy will collapse, or any number of things that will result in only one out of my four students going somewhere other than community college. At least, that's how it turned out with last year's crop. This year's at least had better grades to start from. But I am not getting my hopes up.