• Family Focus: Local library branches offer free college prep workshops

    By: Erica Bryant


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - It is crunch time for teenagers applying for college. Some prep courses that help them through the process can cost $300 to $600.

    Eyewitness News found a program offered by Charlotte Mecklenburg library that offers the information for free.

    High school senior Deaja Gaines is ready for college. She’s been focused on the application process for more than a year.

    “One of the mistakes most people make is that you can always start looking for scholarships, even as a freshman in high school, and they have to start early. Don’t wait until the last moment,” the Mallard Creek High School senior said.

    Courses like the one at the West Boulevard Library helped her prepare. It’s part of Operation College Launch, a series of six free workshops open to teens gearing up for higher education.

    “For example, the free workshop of FAFSA which is how to pay for college, test prep for SAT, ACT, PSAT and how to prepare yourself for college entrance exams,” said Angela Craig, Charmeck Library teen services coordinator.

    Program organizers said these workshops are led by trained instructors, providing information that can be critical for young people entering unfamiliar territory.

    “If you are a first-time attendee of a university or no one in your family has gone to college, it can be really daunting,” Craig said.

    Gaines took the courses last year. She said the writing tips gave her confidence and boosted her score on the SAT.

    “I was taught how to pace myself, how much time to dedicate to each step of the process and to include a lot of details,” she said. “And I learned to stay organized an on topic during the essay.”

    The Operation College Launch workshops will be offered through April of next year at different library branch locations. It is free for middle and high school students.

    For more information on the workshops, click here.

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