EMERGE students tour nine top-tier universities in four days

In what can be described as a super-charged dose of college “realness,” EMERGE students from 15 HISD high schools completed a whirlwind tour of some of the top colleges and universities in the nation in only four days, from June 1-4. More than 80 sophomores and juniors toured Tufts, Harvard, MIT, Clark, Brandeis, Stonehill, Brown, Boston College and Northeastern University, talked to current students and found out what it takes to get in…and stay in.

Students, many of whom will be the first in their family to attend college or university, had the chance to eat in the dining halls with current Ivy Leaguers, attend panels on subjects such the role of cultural centers on academic success, and even engage in time-honored traditions such as “painting the cannon” at Tufts University. They also received advice from current students and admissions counselors on financial aid and the affordability of higher education.

More importantly, the trip gave many high-schoolers a renewed sense of purpose. “Knowing that I have a real chance of attending one of these amazing schools, such as Harvard or Tufts, has created a sense a hope that I didn’t have three days ago,” said junior Giovanna DeLeon. “Realizing that our economic background is not something that needs to define us or whether or not we should or can go to college is powerful.”

The EMERGE program encourages and prepares talented HISD students from underserved communities to successfully attend and graduate from Ivy League and other top-tier colleges.

HISD will soon be launching an EMERGE blog to highlight these students’ journeys throughout the next year. In the meantime, you can read the first few entries from Day 1 and Day 2, and visit the HISD News blog at https://blogs.houstonisd.org/news/ for regular updates. You can also follow the students on Twitter using the hashtag #EMERGETour.