Andre Nichols is a young man with a plan. His mother made it very clear to him that college was the only choice after high school, having gotten a degree herself when Andre was six. So, early on, Andre was planning for college.
Going to Spingarn High School in D.C. was sometimes a challenge, though, where usually less than a quarter of students go on to college. Andre resisted the pressure of peers, keeping in mind that, going to college would "prepare me for the rest of my life." So, following in his mother's footsteps, Andre enrolled in the University of the District of Columbia in the fall after high school graduation.
"I love UDC," Andre said, where his intended major is criminal justice.
Adjustment to College—"Your syllabus is your contract"
Even though he was confident and ready to be responsible, Andre was "extremely nervous" when he got to college. His biggest fear "was getting bad grades." But he decided "that wasn't happening. I want to learn." He has internalized that his college education is his responsibility. "Responsibility is the main thing to being successful," he said. "When you have homework, a project due, or a test, it's your responsibility to get it done, to become an adult. Your syllabus is your contract. And if you don't understand something, you have to go see your professors. They don't know that you need help until you go to see them."
How Reach for College! Helped
Andre says he is grateful for the support he received from his Reach for College! teacher, Mr. Williams, at Spingarn and for the Reach for College! Program Associate, Alisha Scruggs, who came to his classroom regularly. "Ms. Scruggs went over scholarships and made every student complete scholarship applications," he said. "She pushed us. She didn't lose patience with us. It amazed me that she worked so hard with us."
Advice for Students in High School
"People in my generation know how the world is," Andre said. "But we want instant gratification. Some kids ask, 'what's the point of going to college, when I can get money now.' It's better to go to college. They just don't see the point of it. Something needs to be done for those kids. I don't know how you can be successful without a college education."
That is the whole point of Reach for College!—to make students aware of the benefits of college and that they can go and succeed.