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Mount St. Mary's College Outreach Program Makes Difference

Applying to college can be a daunting process, one that would be much more helpful if there was someone there to guide you through it. Mount St. Mary is providing just such a service to students in the Los Angeles area with its student ambassadors program, providing college outreach to high school students who might otherwise have fallen through the cracks.

The college's outreach program, launched in 1991, works to encourage students in the greater Los Angeles area to complete high school and aspire to attend college.

The program is an attempt to combat a troubling reality in the county's school system.

For the 2006-07 academic year, the most recent year for which data is available, L.A. County reported a high school graduation rate of 76.1%, even lower than the statewide figure of 80.6%, according to the state Department of Education.

But the Mount St. Mary's ambassadors, who number 46 this year, dedicate hours of their time to improve those numbers and boost college entry among the students with whom they work.

Since the ambassadors are college students themselves, the memory of high school is still fresh enough in their minds that they know just how difficult and confusing a process it can be -- and as successful college students, they know what worked and how they can help. Mount St. Mary's is a private school with the funds available for many programs, and they put those funds to good use with the academic outreach program, which reportedly helps 7,000 students each year in their quest to successfully apply to and enroll in college.

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