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College prep program prepares first-generation college-bound students

College prep program prepares first-generation college-bound students. (ABC7)

Freshman college students Marjorie Lopez Morillo and Katherine Chiari are hoping to achieve what their parent's didn't.

"Both my parents have attempted to start college but never finished," Lopez Morillo said.

"My mother actually, she only has a high school diploma," said Chiari.

Lopez Morillo is enrolled at Northern Virginia Community College and Chiari at George Mason University thanks in part to a program they started in middle school.

"The Early Identification Program is George Mason's college access program. We identify students who will be the first in their families or students who have extenuating circumstances and can benefit from additional supports in their path to pursuit of a higher education, said Khaseem Davis who is Director of the Early Identification Program.

EIP is offered through seven Northern Virginia public school systems. First-generation college-bound students receive support from grades eighth through twelfth.

Lopez Morillo said, "It kind of gave me experience of what a mini version of college is like."

The program offers academic mentoring, STEM-related instruction, a summer academy at George Mason, and family seminars.

"They provided so much support and the encouragement that would be hard to find elsewhere so EIP is the support network and even more than that, kind of like, you know, a family," said Chiari.

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