Lynden College-Bound Scholarship students

Lynden College-Bound Scholarship students continue success
Posted on 05/15/2018

Lynden High School students who made a commitment in middle school to attend college following high school graduation have continued on a successful path years later.

As part of a statewide program that aims to encourage low-income students to attend college, students who applied for a scholarship in seventh or eighth grade, met the eligibility requirements and maintained a GPA 2.0 or higher through high school can access the College Bound Scholarship fund from the state once they graduate.

Erin Shaffer, LHS school counselor, says that recently 100 freshmen through juniors at LHS re-pledged their commitment to attending college beyond high school and that seven LHS seniors attended a ceremony at Whatcom Community College recognizing their success in the College Bound Scholarship effort.

“As a counselor, I see high value in talking with these kids through their high school years about seeing themselves as college students,” Shafer says. “I think it’s important to remind them of their commitment, help them stay on top of their grades and goals and to break down the barriers of post-high school education.”

This year’s juniors who are still a part of the scholarship effort get invited to apply to attend a summer program at Western Washington University to encourage their continued effort and help paint a picture of life past high school. The summer program includes three days and two nights on the Bellingham campus where the incoming high school seniors experience college life, talk to mentors and get help with their post-high school plans. Students work on admissions essays, scholarships, financial aid and other things to help students prepare for tech school, community college or university.

Throughout Lynden Schools, from the middle school to the high school, Shafer says the College Bound Scholarship program has started having an impact. In the class of 2017, 61 percent of the scholarship students applied for federal financial aid (FAFSA), a requirement to access the scholarship fund.

“We are trying to build a culture at LHS so students identify as College Bound Scholarship and see themselves as being able to attend college,” Shafer says. “We are trying to make it more public, meet with them more often and then follow up with them in their senior year.”