United States: World Education's College Transition Program and Citizens Bank—Helping Sonjii Kinch Pursue Her Dreams
"I enjoy my work, but I want to get a degree. I want to finish college and become a nurse. Most importantly, I want to set a good example for my son. Because of the preparation and support I've received, I know I can reach these goals!"
– Sonjii Kinch, College Transition Program Graduate and Citizens Bank Scholar
As a full-time Clinical Secretary and a single parent, Sonjii Kinch always dreamed of going back to school, but never imagined it possible. She had been out of school for ten years, had little extra time or financial resources, and felt unprepared for college-level schoolwork. Yet, after three years working at two major hospitals in Boston, Massachusetts, she knew she wanted to become a nurse and needed a college degree to achieve that dream.
Sonjii Kinch is working towards a nursing degree following graduation from the ABE-to-College Transition Project.
Sonjii found the opportunity she was looking for through World Education's Adult Basic Education (ABE)-to-College Transition Project. Launched in 2000, the initiative works with adult education providers across New England to equip low-income adults with the tools and skills they need to enter and succeed in college. Through the program, students develop academic and study skills and learn how to access financial aid and navigate the college environment.
After learning about the program through a colleague, Sonjii enrolled in the college transition program housed in the ABCD College Pathways Program, one of World Education's 25 local partners. Program staff helped her feel confident about her ability to go to college and provided her with the skills that would help her succeed there. "They taught me what to expect in college—how to take notes, prepare for classes, and access financial aid. The program also helped me find a scholarship through Citizens Bank. The staff was very encouraging. Because of the Transition program I felt confident and prepared."
In 2000, World Education, through the New England Literacy and Resource Center (NELRC)
, launched the ABE-to-College Transition Project, supported by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. Today, the Project includes 25 adult education programs and more than 40 postsecondary partners across the six New England states. Since 2000, over 2,000 adults have gone on to college after attending the ABE-to-College Transition program.
After graduating from the Transition program, Sonjii was able to enroll in college-level classes at Bunker Hill Community College. "The Citizen's Bank scholarship helped me a great deal. It helped pay for a computer and school supplies, and there was still money left for next semester." The classes are bigger and the material is more difficult than the Transitions classes, but Sonjii is adjusting well and enjoying the new environment. There continue to be challenges, especially as she tries to manage her time as a student, mother, and full-time Clinical Secretary, but Sonjii continues to work hard and stay focused on her goal. When her son is older, she hopes he will understand the importance of a college education, "I want my son to grow up and go to college. How can I ask that of him, if I can't do it for myself?"