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Volunteers

Student With Disabilities Helps Others Enroll in College

Dylan Simonsen, 20 years old, came to St. Louis as a soccer player for Washington University.  However, his interest in education and membership in the Civic Scholars Program steered him in another direction: the St. Louis Graduates High School to College Center.

The St. Louis Graduates High School to College Center, located in the Delmar Loop, opened for the summer on June 1st. The organization is a free resource which helps graduating high school students apply, enroll, and succeed in college. According to the  St. Louis Graduate Center website, areas with higher education levels make for a stronger regional economy.  However, the website also states that there are many significant barriers when it comes to getting into college, including financial and family issues.  The Center hopes to help each student overcome these issues, so they may successfully move on to the next step in their life - without the large amount of stress they may have faced if they had to deal with the problems by themselves.

Financial and family issues are not the only obstacles when it comes to applying for college. Dylan Simonsen has taken an important role in helping students with a particularly challenging obstacle in the college application process: disabilities.  As a student with a disability himself, Dylan knows about problems students with disabilities face.  Dylan shared that simple task that college students face, such as signing forms, talking to fellow students, and addressing professors, may be more difficult for those with a disability. When Dylan heard about the St. Louis Graduate High School to College Center through his local Civil Service Organization, he knew it’d be a great opportunity to help others with disabilities.

“A disability isn’t anything to be ashamed about,” he said,  “they require different types of help and attention, and you really need good help to see what ways those are.”  

Dylan has worked with the St. Louis Graduate High School to College Center to help students identify potential issues and get the help they need when it comes to getting the most out of college.  He is there to help students find resources, fill out forms, make calls, or give them advice and knowledge that he has gathered through his own experience.  Dylan’s background with disabilities is sure to make a significant impact at the St. Louis Graduates High School to College Center.

Dylan hopes by the end of the summer he will have helped students enroll and succeed in college, including those with disabilities.  He also hopes that his work at the Center will inspire him to choose a future career, whether that may be in the field of special education or not.  But for the time being Dylan plans to serve his community.

“I want to help students in the area and just help them get to college,” Dylan said.

For more information about the St. Louis High School to College Center, visit their website or check them out on Facebook.