Changemaker: Yuliana Palacio
Country of implementation: Colombia
High School seniors from underprivileged and rural areas in Colombia have very little chance of accessing higher education compared to more affluent peers from urban areas. In order to provide these students with the same opportunities, Yuliana and Carolina with the help of a group of volunteer teachers, psychologists, and other professionals, started to run the first pilot of Somos Bachilleres. 16 high school senior students from three different rural areas in Colombia (Imbilì-Nariño, La Calera- Cundinamarca, Orocué-Casanare) have been participating in this pilot. Somos Bachilleres provides students academic and college counseling support. On one hand, students receive classes in the five components of the National standardized test (Saber 11o). Through these classes, students get familiar with the test as well as explore content in math, science, social studies and citizenship, English, and critical reading. Scores from this test are determinant when accessing higher education. On the other hand, students receive psychosocial mentoring that will help them decide their career pathways after graduating high school. Mentors also guide the students through the process of application and enrollment to the university of their choice. Depending on the students’ interests, mentors also ensure students are prepared. For instance, students interested in a career pathway that requires a specific preparation will receive that preparation aside from the regular academic preparation to ensure that they have all the possibilities to be admitted in the program of their choice. So far, students from the 2021 cohort have already taken the national test and are in the process of applying to colleges as well as attending workshops provided by our psychologist in long-life skills such as the use of technology, email writing, time management and organization, and G Suite among others.