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WINTER 2014-15
Pat Driscoll, '89, local operations
director for Say Yes Syracuse, shares
his insight on preparing the next
generation for college and careers
Seven steps to college-ready success
or Say Yes to Education, one of our key compo-
nents is to "help families in some of the nation's
lowest income communities achieve the milestone
of a high school graduation and then to ensure that
those students succeed in affording, attaining and com-
pleting an education beyond high school."
National trends and data from various policy think
tanks and educational foundations reveal that those stu-
dents who attain a college degree are more likely to be
employed than those who do not obtain a college de-
gree. Therefore, the continued promotion by our organi-
zation, along with many
others, is to promote a col-
lege-going culture.
So, here you are. A junior or
senior in high school, mulling
over your next steps. What do
I want to do when I grow up?
Which school is the best one
for me? (Bona's of course!) I
am so overwhelmed by this
whole thing: Where do I
We were faced with these same questions when we
were that age. As parents of college-going students, it's
like déja vu. So, here is what we recommend to students
and their families who turn to Say Yes to Education for
1. Discover -- Getting ready for college begins a
journey of discovery. Discover your interests, ambi-
tions and share them with your family, teachers
and counselors. Learn about the different types of
colleges and the options already available. Talk to
students who are already embedded in the col-
lege-going culture.
2. Plan -- A plan is a road map to your dreams.
No one can write your plan for you. It is yours. De-
velop lists of colleges to visit and the different
types of exams to take.
3. Get Ready -- Just as you discover your inter-
ests and ambitions, you'll need to know what skills
are required for your chosen career. Learn the
skills; understand the skills so that you are ready
when the time comes.
4. Apply -- The future is about you, what you have accomplished,
what you have learned and, most importantly, what you want to be.
You tell YOUR story!
5. Financing and the Facts -- There are many misconceptions re-
garding the cost of higher education. Although foundations like Say
Yes and colleges like St. Bonaventure are great resources to support
some of the cost for incoming students, the costs go beyond tuition,
which is known as Cost of Attendance. This includes room and
board, fees (i.e. Technology, Student Activity, and Health Services).
Explore ALL options for funding, since there is more to finance col-
lege then just the tuition.
6. Decisions -- Toward the end of your senior year, all of your hard
work will come together! As you hear from colleges, evaluate your
choices carefully. Discuss options with your family and counselors.
Contact the colleges you are considering to get your questions an-
swered. Leave no stone unturned, so to speak.
7. Commit to Success -- From your first days at St. Bonaventure,
you need to commit yourself to completing the program to which
you are enrolled. Before you know it, you will be sitting with career
recruiters or applying to advance your degree.
I appreciate this opportunity to share with readers some of the experi-
ences that I have encountered as a former student, a professional and as
a father of college-age children. The process can be overwhelming but
take comfort in knowing that there are resources to turn to. My message
to our newest members of the college-going culture: Become Extraordi-
nary. Go Bona's!
(Say Yes is a national non-profit organization committed to dramatically in-
creasing school and college graduation rates for our nation's inner-city
youth. Driscoll joined Say Yes Syracuse in March 2011. He is the father of
three, with his middle child completing a visit to Bona's in September 2014.
He has worked as a Division 1 college basketball official since 1998. He
notes that he was able to learn these skills through SBU's Intramural Coun-
cil. Learn more about Say Yes at
The Changing Landscape