Oklahoma City high school helps prepare students for college with alumni talks

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Students at U.S. Grant High School are learning from college students on how to transition after graduation.

"It just hits you hard, because you don't know what to expect. Everything is new," said Eloy Dominguez, a junior mechanical engineering student.

“I hope to teach them that it's okay. They're going to survive. It's not the end of the world, and you can do it. You can achieve your dreams. There's money available everywhere,” said Rachel Burchett, a junior at OU.

All of the speakers at this question and answer session graduated from Grant.

"It was really scary transitioning, because I didn't know what to expect. I had never been to college. My parents didn't have the experience to tell me how they went to college, because they didn't go."

Being the first generation of family members to go to college is that way for many students at the Oklahoma City school.

"Hearing students who are from their own neighborhood, from their school, seeing and hearing what their experiences have been like and how it's impacted their lives - they can totally relate," said Lindsey Williams, a college and career counselor at Grant.

Williams is in a brand new position at Grant.

Her sole job is to help children go through the process of getting financial aid and applying to college.

"'How do I get money for scholarships?' or 'How do I get money to pay for college? How do I apply?' A lot of them just don't necessarily have parents who have gone through the process," Williams said.

For students, these resources help make a scary transition a little easier.

"I'm really nervous, especially since I'm graduating a year early. So, it's a big step for me, just trying to figure out what I'm going to have planned ahead," said Kayla Cates, a graduating valedictorian at U.S. Grant.

"The tutorial is over. It's time to go in and pay attention and actually make something of yourself. No more being a kid,” said Deejay Lowe, a senior at Grant.

Unfortunately, the college and career counselor position will be eliminated and delegated to several faculty members, partly due to budget cuts.

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