Monday, August 20, 2012

ETS Provides Academic and Motivational Support To Students Who Find College Beyond Their Reach


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                            8/14/2012

                                                                                                (By Lisa Garrett)

            PENDLETON --- In his conversations with students and their parents about preparing for college, Educational Talent Search (ETS) Coordinator Herm Allen often repeats a quote from the film, "Gifted Hands," a docudrama about Dr. Ben Carson, who went from struggling student to world-renowned neurosurgeon, whose mother once told him, 'You have to see beyond what you can see.' 

            In his role as coordinator of ETS at Tri-County Technical College, Allen uses that powerful quote as a motivator for students to break the mindset that college is an impossibility.

             "Despite your circumstances, just like Dr. Carson, who grew up in an economically disadvantaged household, if you have the desire to go to college, we at ETS can help you find a way to do that," said Allen.

            ETS, which has been federally funded at Tri-County since 1981, is designed to assist students in grades 7 - 12 with the academic support and cultural exposure to students who need assistance in understanding their educational opportunities and options.

            Last year the U.S. Department of Education granted the College a five-year, $391,538 continuation grant to provide academic support and cultural exposure to 854 students in the tri-counties.   Tri-County was among the eight colleges and universities in the state to receive ETS funding.  Tri-County has the only ETS program in the Upstate.

            ETS is part of the TRiO programs which are designed to provide academic and motivational support to first-generation (neither parent has a bachelor's degree) and income-eligible students in Anderson, Oconee and Pickens counties who might otherwise have found higher education beyond their reach.

            ETS program services are free of charge to those who qualify.

            Specifically, Tri-County's ETS provides academic, personal and career counseling; middle school tutoring by mentors who are retired teachers; online tutoring for high school participants; study skills and SAT/ACT workshops; cultural activities; and assistance in completing and submitting college admissions and financial aid applications.

            ETS counselors assist students with one-on-one counseling and with setting up action plans to apply for scholarships and to build a strong college application, he added. 

            "All of these services are at no cost to those who qualify, thanks to the Department of Education grant.  I know - it sounds too good to be true --  but it's not. Why not take advantage of a program like this?" said Allen.

            Chelsy Hunter, of Anderson, a sophomore majoring in athletic training at Erskine College, participated in ETS from middle school through graduation from high school.  "ETS prepared me for college through my participation in the leadership conferences and help with homework that resulted in good grades.  Counselors also helped with choosing which college was the best for me, along with the application and financial aid processes," she added.  "The counselors were real motivators. The program is so worthwhile." 

            "Our purpose is to increase the graduation and college-going rates of youth from disadvantaged backgrounds. One of the charges and challenges we have is that we no longer want to be the best-kept secret in the area.  We want as many people as possible to know we exist.  Our goal is visibility for Educational Talent Search and to get the information out," said Allen.

            "We work closely with the guidance departments at the schools who serve as vehicles for recruiting students.  We visit schools and talk with students during lunch periods.  With the beginning of school just around the corner, we are in recruitment mode," said Allen.

            "The program is funded to serve 854 students in our target schools.  During the selection process we look at grades and personal statements.  We look for students who are college bound.  They don't have to be A students; they just have to be seriously interested in college when they graduate from high school," he said.

            "So often I've seen students who enter the program as C or D students and who turn the corner and become A or B students.  We provide motivation and encouragement.  With ETS, college is not impossible," he said.

            The ETS program works, said Allen.  According to a performance report by the USDOE, 66 percent of Tri-County's 2010 - 2011 ETS college-ready students were college bound.  In addition, the 2010 - 2011 promotion rate (from grade to grade) for ETS students served in area schools for 2010 - 2011 was 94 percent.

            But ETS can't do this without the help of parents, Allen added.  "We are bringing parents on board in conversations to motivate students and we encourage parents to be involved at school.  We urge parents to communicate frequently with the school about their children's progress - to ask questions."

             For more information, contact Herm Allen at 864-646-1596 or at


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Rebecca Eidson
Public Relations and Communication Director

Lisa Garrett
Public Relations Associate