In 2010, Georgetown launched its annual Summer College Immersion Program, which provides a transformative Hilltop experience to 45 top-performing high school students from underserved communities across the country.
Many of the participants live in inner-city areas and attend schools in the Cristo Rey and Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) networks. The students benefit from a thorough college preparatory program, but many are unsure about next steps.
“Georgetown was a transformative experience for me. It allowed me to believe I could be anybody I wanted to be and do anything I wanted to do. Funding this summer program was an opportunity to unleash leaders that can make a difference in every walk of life.”
The summer program aims to address the myriad challenges, both social and academic, that students face when adapting to life at an elite university. After living on Georgetown’s campus for three weeks, the high school students begin to overcome those barriers and feel more empowered within the college environment.
The program offers courses in International Relations, Interdisciplinary Environmental Science, and College Writing taught by Georgetown professors, as well as SAT prep, mock college admission interviews, and tips on securing financial aid. When Phil (C’68) and Sue Marineau heard about the program’s objectives, they were inspired to offer philanthropic support.
“We want students to tell themselves ‘I’m qualified; this isn’t a foreign world.’A program like this at a university like Georgetown gives these Cristo Rey students a level of self-confidence that works as a springboard not only in college but later in life,” shares Phil Marineau.
Aside from giving students the tools and confidence they need to pursue a higher education at a highly selective university, it shows students from limited means—and those who are first in their family to attend college—that highly selective schools like Georgetown are a real possibility for them.
Through need-blind admissions and meet-full-need financial aid, Georgetown has long been committed to access and affordability for the world’s most talented students. If these Cristo Rey students are qualified for admission, the university ensures they are able to attend—and supports them once they are on campus through innovative offerings like the Georgetown Scholarship Program (GSP).
“Georgetown was a transformative experience for me,” adds Phil Marineau. “It allowed me to believe I could be anybody I wanted to be and do anything I wanted to do. I’m sure other Georgetown alumni can relate to that same feeling. Funding this summer program was an opportunity to unleash leaders that can make a difference in every walk of life.”
Based on the program’s most recent data, a total of 328 high school students have completed this three-week experience, with an average of 96 percent of students attending and graduating college within four years.