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Students Encouraged to Apply to College, While in Class

On an ordinary day, Lourdes Hernandez and her D.C. classmates in Advanced Placement English literature would have devoted these 85 minutes to analyzing “Wuthering Heights.”

But they set aside Emily Bronte’s 19th-century novel one morning last week at the Columbia Heights Educational Campus, instead spending precious class time on an urgent task: applying to college.

This public school on 16th Street in Northwest Washington is one of two dozen citywide that is spending class time this week on applications, part of a growing national movement to help students who face disadvantages take perhaps the most crucial step on the way to college.

Whatever else schools do to get students ready for college, one thing is certain: Those who don’t apply won’t get in.