Program encourages college dreams

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PORTLAND — In its first three years the Let’s Get Ready program in Maine has helped nearly 800 underprivileged high school students in Portland, Lewiston and Waterville prepare for and attend college.

The nationwide program partners high-schoolers with volunteer college students who assist in SAT preparation, admission counseling and post-enrollment mentoring.

Let’s Get Ready was brought to Maine by Merle Nelson of Falmouth, who called the program one of the state’s best kept secrets in terms of helping students find success.

All high school juniors in Maine are required to take the SAT whether they plan to attend college or not, but Nelson said with a helping hand and someone believing in them, kids are more likely to take the test seriously.

If they score well enough, she said, they’re able to open the door to college and earn scholarship opportunities to help cover the costs.