Author: Mychal Wynn

CEO/Founder of the Foundation for Ensuring Access and Equity. Creator of the College Planning Cohort Program and developer of the College Planning Cohort Curriculum.

Newsletter: May 1, 2021

Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)

May 1, 2021 College Planning Cohort News

Today is College Signing Day for over a million high school seniors. While many of our cohort seniors may be participating in signing day ceremonies at their high school, we will announce the colleges and universities that our seniors will be attending at our final cohort meeting of the 2020-21 school year on Saturday, May 8, 2021.

What a year! Despite the many challenges presented by the global pandemic and the huge personal challenges experienced by many of our students and families, our students demonstrated great resilience. As illustrated above, our Class of 2021 will be attending a broad range of colleges and universities and receiving over $5 million in scholarships. During our Saturday, May 8, final cohort session of the 2020-21 school year, we will be hosting a special presentation announcing the final college choices of our Class of 2021 and offering a special thank you to our College Interns and Discussion Group Leaders who have volunteered their time to provide support, guidance, and encouragement to our middle school and high school students throughout the 2020-21 school year.

Whitney Williams — Market Madness Winner

Congratulations to Whitney Williams, a member of our church who serves as one of our college interns, is a student in the Honors Program at Spelman College. Whitney and her 5-member Spelman College team won the $1 million first place prize in the Goldman Sachs Market Madness: HBCU Possibilities Program. Teams from 8 HBCUs (Florida A&M University, Hampton University, Howard University, Morehouse College, Morgan State University, North Carolina A&T State University and Prairie View A&M University) competed in a case-study competition. In addition to the $1 million donation to Spelman College, each student received a $10,000 education stipend.

Faith Kumi – 2021 Ron Brown Scholar

Congratulations to Atlanta-area cohort and Marietta High School IB Program senior, Faith Kumi, who has been selected as a 2021 Ron Brown Scholar. Faith is only 1 of 45 students nationally selected from over 4,000 applicants to be awarded the $40,000 scholarship. Faith, who has been in our college planning cohort program since her sophomore year of high school is our first Ron Brown Scholar and will be attending the University of Chicago in the fall.

Joanne Lioe – 2021 QuestBridge College Prep Scholar

Congratulations to Pinellas County Schools cohort junior, Joanne Lioe, who has been selected as a 2021 QuestBridge College Prep Scholar. Joanne, who attends the IB Program at St. Petersburg High School in St. Petersburg, Florida, has volunteered to serve as a discussion group leader and intern for our summer college planning boot camps.

Summer Intern Opportunity

We are elated that Sydney Soskin, a member of our 2020 Pinellas County Schools Cohort, current Discussion Group Leader, and University of Chicago student, will serve as our 2021 College and High School Intern Program Coordinator.

Students interested in serving as a College Planning Cohort Intern for one or more of our summer college planning boot camps should email: cpc@collegeplanningcohort.com

Boot Camp Schedule

Registration is now opened for our middle school and high school summer college planning boot camps:

June 7 – 10 (9:00 am – 1:00 pm): 4-day all-virtual boot camp for high school seniors. Click here to register…

June 14 – 18 (8:30 am – 2:30 pm): 5-day in-person boot camp for McKinney-Vento Students in Judson ISD (TX). Contact Sylvia Greenwood (sgreenwood@judsonisd.org). Limited to 40 students.

June 21 – 25 (8:30 am – 2:30 pm): 5-day in-person boot camp for Military Connected Students in Judson ISD (TX). Contact Sylvia Greenwood (sgreenwood@judsonisd.org). Limited to 40 students.

July 12 – 15 (9:00 am – 1:00 pm): 4-day all-virtual boot camp for high school students in grades 9 – 11. Click here to register…

July 19 – 22 (9:00 am – 1:00 pm): 4-day all-virtual boot camp for middle school students in grades 7 – 8. Click here to register…

Senior Registration is Now Open

High school seniors may now register for our 2021-22 High School Senior Classroom. Registered students will have the option of attending our June 7 – 10 high school senior boot camp where they can finalize their college application and scholarship plans. Students will continue into our June, July, and August monthly sessions where they will be guided in finalizing college application strategies, essays, and selecting their college admission cycles.

New students: click here to register…; Returning students: click here to register… (Note: Registration fees for Pinellas County Schools and Florence School District 3 students are paid for by the school district. )

Essay Writing Workshop Series

With the huge increase in applications to selective colleges where many of our students were offered admission, now, more than ever, a student’s essays can be the difference between being offered admission and receiving a rejection letter!

We are excited to introduce a 4-part Essay Writing Workshop series, developed and presented by Mychal-David Wynn, a certified college counselor and graduate of Amherst College (BA English). The sessions are not part of our normal program and require a separate registration and are opened to all students.

The 4-part series will be presented from 9:00 am – Noon, during each Saturday in June (5, 12, 19, and 26). The 4-part series will be repeated in July (10, 17, 24, and 31). The goal is for participating students to emerge from the sessions with a Common Application Essay, supplemental essay, or scholarship essay.

Topics will cover:

  • Choosing the ‘right’ Common Application Essay Prompt
  • Effectively responding to multi-question writing prompts
  • Finding your voice
  • Expressing your truth
  • Telling your story
  • Making connections between your body of work, recommenders, and the college’s mission/vision

Students will have their essays fully reviewed and edited. Click here to purchase your registration or Email cpc@collegeplanningcohort.com to reserve your space. Space is Limited.

May Meeting Schedule

Monthly Meeting Schedule: The second Saturday of each month.

Florence School District 3 May Sessions (5:00 pm – 6:30 pm): (Click here to register; Meeting ID 894 9627 2665). Tuesday/Thursday; May 4 – 27.

May 8, 2021 (9:00 am – 11:00 am): 9th and 10th Grades (Click here to register; Meeting ID: 838 2462 4377). Students will present their April final presentations in their Discussion Group.

May 8, 2021 (10:00 am – 12:30 pm): 11th and 12th Grades (Click here to register; Meeting ID: 843 9332 9122). Juniors will meet briefly in their discussion groups to present their April presentations. At 11:30 am, we will share a presentation acknowledging our graduating seniors and appreciation for our discussion group leaders.

Join a Cohort

ASA Guide Kappa League Mentoring Program: Contact Doug Lucas: dlucasjr@aol.com

Atlanta-area and National Cohort: Contact Mychal-David Wynn: mdwynn@accessandequity.org

Pinellas County Schools: Contact Dr. Lewis Brinson, Minority Achievement Officer: brinsonle@pcsb.org

Florence County School District 3: Contact Ms. Kendra Wilson, Guidance Counselor: kwilson@fsd3.org

Click here to learn more about our cohorts and other programs…

 
 

Newsletter: April 1, 2021

Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)

Thank you Panelists

Foundation for Ensuring Access and EquityOn Saturday, March 13, 2021, we hosted several student panels for our monthly sessions with students in grades 8 – 12. During our session for students in grades 8 – 10, Damian Lee (Northeastern University), Sydney Soskin (University of Chicago), Faith K. (Marietta High School), and Justin Matthews (Dillard University) appeared on our panel to provide a context for the college and scholarship research in which cohort students have been engaged (i.e., liberal arts colleges; research universities; HBCUs; dual degree programs; test optional schools; scholarship programs, etc.). Their comments were so rich and their wisdom so profound that we will incorporate some of the video clips into our 2021-22 curriculum so that next year’s students can benefit from their insight and experiences!

We hosted 3 panels for our 11th and 12th grade students. Appearing on our panel to provide insight into the liberal arts college experience were Kimberly Hadaway (Williams College), Sydney Starks (Bowdoin College), and Whitney Williams (Spelman College). Appearing on our panel to provide insight into the research university experience were Damian Lee (Northeastern University), Peyton Wilson (George Washington University), Robert Penn (George Mason University), and Sydney Soskin (University of Chicago). Appearing on our panel to provide insight into the HBCU experience were Justin Matthews (Dillard University), Sydney Barron (North Carolina Central University), and Whitney Williams (Spelman College).

The rich and profound insight provided by our panelists was well received by our high school juniors and seniors, and their parents. As our high school juniors finalize their college lists and high school seniors finalize their May 1 enrollment decisions, our panelists were great ambassadors for their respective institutions. They provided insight into how they made their college decision and how they have maximized opportunities at their respective institutions, including co-ops, internships, engaging in research, publishing papers, being awarded thousands of dollars in scholarships, and avoiding thousands of dollars in room and board costs by becoming Resident Assistants. If you did not attend the session, you missed a great opportunity.

Grades 9 – 10

The April Module provides guidance in researching such programs as QuestBridge, which partners with some of the country’s most selective colleges and universities in their College Match Program and the Gates Scholarship (formerly the Gates Millennium Scholarship), which provides a “last dollar” scholarship to close the financial aid gap for 300 students each year at any accredited U.S. college or university. The module provides guidance in researching institutional and private scholarship programs with the goal of sensitizing students to the “body of work” they must develop to become competitive candidates for such programs. The units profile cohort students who were selected for many of the programs profiled.

High School Juniors

The March Module guided students through the many actions they must take over the coming months to maximize scholarship opportunities and minimize student loan debt. The April Module will guide students in developing their college application and scholarship plans. The importance of taking these next steps in developing a college and scholarship strategy was clearly articulated by our college students, and our high school senior who reflected on the results of their college and scholarship action plans.

Our May newsletter will share enrollment decisions and scholarship awards, which include such colleges and scholarship programs as:

  • Brown
  • Carleton College
  • Clemson Nursing School Admission
  • Georgia Tech
  • Francis Marion Teaching Fellow
  • North Carolina A&T Dowdy Scholar
  • North Carolina A&T Cheatham-White Scholar
  • NYU – Shanghai
  • Ron Brown Scholar
  • University of Chicago
  • Wesleyan University

High School Seniors

Historically, May 1 has marked the enrollment decision deadline for most colleges and universities. However, with the many disruptions to normalcy as a result of the pandemic, many colleges are allowing students more time to finalize their decision. Consequently, students must not only carefully review financial aid awards, but must review each college’s published plans for the fall. Will colleges be offering in-person learning? Will freshmen be coming to campus and checking into dormitories? Will students be required to have a COVID-19 vaccination? To assist students in more deeply understanding the array of college options and scholarship opportunities currently being researched, cohort alumni, currently attending college, will share their experiences in this month’s senior discussion groups.

Boot Camp Schedule

Registration is now opened for our college planning boot camps for middle school (grades 7 – 8), high school (grades 9 – 11), and rising high school seniors.

June 7 – 10 (9:00 am – 1:00 pm): 4-day all-virtual boot camp for high school seniors. Click here to register…

June 14 – 18 (8:30 am – 2:30 pm): 5-day in-person boot camp for McKinney-Vento Students in Judson ISD (TX). Contact Sylvia Greenwood (sgreenwood@judsonisd.org). Limited to 40 students.

June 21 – 25 (8:30 am – 2:30 pm): 5-day in-person boot camp for Military Connected Students in Judson ISD (TX). Contact Sylvia Greenwood (sgreenwood@judsonisd.org). Limited to 40 students.

July 12 – 15 (9:00 am – 1:00 pm): 4-day all-virtual boot camp for high school students in grades 9 – 11. Click here to register…

July 19 – 22 (9:00 am – 1:00 pm): 4-day all-virtual boot camp for middle school students in grades 7 – 8. Click here to register…

Senior Registration is Now Open

High school seniors may now register for our 2021-22 High School Senior Classroom. Registered students will continue into our June 7 – 10 high school senior boot camp where they will finalize college application and scholarship plans and continue in our June, July, and August monthly sessions to finalize college application strategies, essays, and select their college admission cycles.

New students: click here to register…; Returning students: click here to register… (Note: Registration fees for Pinellas County Schools and Florence School District 3 students are paid for by the school district. )

We are introducing a 4-part Essay Writing Workshop series, developed and presented by Mychal-David Wynn, a certified college counselor and graduate of Amherst College (BA English). The sessions are not part of our normal program and require a separate registration.

The 4-part series will be presented from 9:00 am – Noon, during each Saturday in June (5, 12, 19, and 26). The 4-part series will be repeated in July (10, 17, 24, and 31). The goal is for participating students to emerge from the sessions with a Common Application Essay, supplemental essay, or scholarship essay.

Topics will cover:

  • Choosing the ‘right’ Common Application Essay Prompt
  • Effectively responding to multi-question writing prompts
  • Finding your voice
  • Expressing your truth
  • Telling your story
  • Making connections between your body of work, recommenders, and the college’s mission/vision

Participating students will have their essays fully reviewed and edited.

Registration will open on May 1. Space is limited. Email cpc@collegeplanningcohort.com to reserve your space.

April Meeting Schedule

Monthly Meeting Schedule: The second Saturday of each month.

Florence School District 3 April Sessions (5:00 pm – 6:30 pm): (Click here to register; Meeting ID 894 9627 2665). Tuesday/Thursday; April 2 – 29.

April 10, 2021 (9:00 am – 11:00 am): 9th and 10th Grades (Click here to register; Meeting ID: 838 2462 4377). Students will present their March final presentations in their Discussion Group.

April 10, 2021 (10:00 am – 12:30 pm): 11th and 12th Grades (Click here to register; Meeting ID: 843 9332 9122). Juniors will present their March presentations in their Discussion Group. Seniors and parents will engage in a conversation about award letters, comparing college costs, and finalizing college choice.

Join a Cohort

Our outcomes speak for themselves: Over $100 million in scholarships, including students being offered admission to the most selective colleges and being selected as Cheatham-White Scholars; Dowdy Scholars; Elon Odyssey Scholars; Gates Scholars; MC Lyte Hip Hop Sisters Scholar; QuestBridge Scholars; Rhodes Scholars; Richmond Scholars; Ron Brown Scholars; Templeton Scholars; Torch Scholars; and UChicago Odyssey Scholars.

ASA Guide Kappa League Mentoring Program: Contact Doug Lucas: dlucasjr@aol.com

Atlanta-area and National Cohort: Contact Mychal-David Wynn: mdwynn@accessandequity.org

Pinellas County Schools: Contact Dr. Lewis Brinson, Minority Achievement Officer: brinsonle@pcsb.org

Florence County School District 3: Contact Ms. Kendra Wilson, Guidance Counselor: kwilson@fsd3.org

Click here to learn more about our cohorts and other programs…

Newsletter: March 1, 2021

Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)

Thank you Pinellas County Schools Panelists

Foundation for Ensuring Access and EquityOn Saturday, February 27, 2021, we hosted a special college planning session for Pinellas County Schools’ students and parents. With our focus primarily on exposing middle school students to the importance of developing 7-year middle school through high school college-bound plans, we hosted panels of 8th graders, 11th graders, and parents who shared their experiences and the impact of their cohort participation across areas of academics, leadership, and service.

We are appreciative of the efforts of Dr. Lewis Brinson, Pinellas County Schools Minority Achievement Officer, who sponsored the session and those students and parents who volunteered to serve on our panels. The panels, together with comments from Dr. Lois McKee, Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School Counselor, and our guest speaker, cohort alumna Sydney Soskin, a 2020 graduate of the St. Petersburg High School IB Program and current University of Chicago student, were both informative and inspiring.

Researching Colleges and Programs

Researching colleges and programs occurs on multiple levels. 8th – 10th graders are researching colleges and programs to assist in guiding the selection of high schools, programs, clubs, activities, and coursework. 11th graders are narrowing college lists based on selectivity and affordability while high school seniors are using their research to identify the right fit of colleges and programs as they compare financial aid award letters.

To assist students in more deeply understanding the array of college options and scholarship opportunities currently being researched, cohort alumni, currently attending college, will share their experiences during this month’s cohort sessions.

Grades 9 – 10

College Panel: Cohort alumni representing HBCUs, Liberal Arts Colleges, Research Universities, Test Optional Schools, Cooperative Education Programs, Dual Degree Programs, and Honors Colleges will share their experiences, including how they selected their programs, the type of grades, clubs, and activities during high school that made them competitive candidates for being offered admission to their programs, the type of institutional and private scholarships they received, and engage in a candid discussion of the impact of choices made as a high school 9th and 10th graders on their college and scholarship trajectories.

Our panelists includes a MC Lyte Hip Hop Sisters Scholar, Posse Scholar, Torch Scholar, and Cheatham-White Scholar. After a Q&A with our panelists, students will move into their normal breakout rooms to discuss their monthly presentations. Parents are encouraged to attend.

Grades 11 – 12

College Panel: Our current college interns will be joined by cohort alumni to share their experiences at HBCUs, Liberal Arts Colleges, Research Universities, Cooperative Education Programs, and Honors Colleges. Students will share some of the critically important decisions made as second semester high school juniors and the importance of the timeline regarding testing, finalizing college lists, researching scholarships, taking advantage of Fly-in/Diversity Weekend opportunities, and the amount of time devoted to creating well written essays.

We encourage students to prepare their questions in advance. Following the panel discussions, we will host our normal 11th grade discussion groups. Our 12th grade discussion groups with Mr. and Mrs. Williams will be joined by college students to continue the Q&A from the panel discussion. Parents are encouraged to attend.

Announcements

Developing a Cohort Video: Tenth grader, Kierra H., from our Florence School District 3 cohort is demonstrating leadership, service, and great creativity. Kierra has solicited the support of cohort students in South Carolina, Florida, and Georgia to develop a video through which students share their cohort experiences and encourage other students to “Own the Process.” Kierra has the support of her guidance counselors and Florence School District 3 Superintendent of Schools, Mrs. Laura Hickson. Other cohort students are developing podcasts and video editing, as they use their talents to showcase an array of leadership skills and engage in meaningful community service in response to the question, “What is your cause?”

Congratulations: Congratulations to cohort students who are finalists for the North Carolina A&T Dowdy and Cheatham-White Scholarships; and for the Ron Brown Scholarship.

Mid-year Assessments: At the heart of our program is the partnership between our advisors and families. We have had great meetings during which we have responded to parent/student questions, provided feedback as to student progress, and provided recommendations as to actions that students may take to further increase their competitiveness as a college/scholarship applicant. After completing the January Module: Mid-year Assessment, students or parents should email us with preferred meeting days/times. Meetings are currently being scheduled for March 6, 20, and 27; and April 3, 17, and 24 between the hours of 9:00 am – 2:00 pm.

ACT/SAT Testing: In part, due to COVID-19 related cancellations of SAT and ACT testing dates, many colleges will continue to be test optional or test blind in 2021 and 2022. However, many merit-based scholarships will continue to require submission of SAT or ACT scores. High school juniors who plan to submit test scores, should develop a plan to achieve their target ACT scores by the June 12th testing date. Juniors focusing on the SAT should plan to achieve their highest scores by the June 5th testing date. High school sophomores should consider taking the June exam to get their baseline score to guide their junior-year course taking and exam preparation.

Report Cards and Transcripts: Please submit your first semester report cards and transcripts.

FREE College Fair: Tuesday, March 16, 2021, 5:00 pm (EST): Over 250 colleges will be represented.

Arizona State College Watch Party: March 4, 2021, 6:00 pm (MT).

March Meeting Schedule

Monthly Meeting Schedule: The second Saturday of each month.

Florence School District 3 March Sessions (5:00 pm – 6:30 pm): (Click here to register; Meeting ID 894 9627 2665). Tuesday/Thursday; March 2 – 25.

March 13, 2021 (9:00 am – 11:00 am): 9th and 10th Grades (Click here to register; Meeting ID: 838 2462 4377). College Panel Discussion; following which, students will present their February final presentations in their Discussion Group.

March 13, 2021 (10:00 am – 12:30 pm): 11th and 12th Grades (Click here to register; Meeting ID: 843 9332 9122). High School Senior Panel Discussion; College Panel Discussion; following which, juniors will present their January final presentations in their Discussion Group.

Join a Cohort

College admissions is more competitive than ever. NYU received an unprecedented 100,000 applications. Now is the time, particularly for high school juniors, to join our program as the second semester is a critical time to finalize the body of work (i.e., grades, test scores, leadership, and service) that will be represented in your college applications.

ASA Guide Kappa League Mentoring Program: Contact Doug Lucas: dlucasjr@aol.com

Atlanta-area and National Cohort: Contact Mychal-David Wynn: mdwynn@accessandequity.org

Pinellas County Schools: Contact Dr. Lewis Brinson, Minority Achievement Officer: brinsonle@pcsb.org

Florence County School District 3: Contact Ms. Kendra Wilson, Guidance Counselor: kwilson@fsd3.org

Click here to learn more about our cohorts and other programs…

Newsletter: February 1, 2021

Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)

Making History

Foundation for Ensuring Access and Equity2020 was a historic year with millions of people marching, protesting, and organizing against systemic racism and for social justice—“Say Their Names.” Athletes made their voices heard by taking knees, canceling games, and registering millions of voters. The 2020 presidential election resulted in Senator Kamala Harris, the first woman of color and HBCU graduate, being elected as Vice President of the United States.

College students throughout the country became part of the collective consciousness of America as organizers and change agents. They marched under the mantra, “Black Lives Matter,” and then showed up at the polls to ensure that, “Black Votes Matter.” The historic 2021 Presidential Inauguration, provided an international platform for America’s first National Youth Poet Laureate and Harvard graduate, Amanda Gorman, to make history.

College applicants were challenged to respond to the question, “What is your cause?” Cohort students, in part due to brilliantly written essays, continued their historic journey into some of the country’s most selective colleges, with one of our students being selected as a 2021 Rhodes Scholar.

As we pause to celebrate where we have been and to set our glaze on where we are going, now is the time for you to set goals and to pursue exceptionality. Now is the time for you to pursue your cause and to make history.

“We lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us.”
— Amanda Gorman

Seniors

Do not miss out on financial aid opportunities. Follow the steps outlined in “Module 7 – What to Do After Receiving an Admission Decision.” Ensure that you fully understand your financial aid award letter as outlined in “Module 8 – Understanding Award Letters.”

Does your financial aid award leave you with a financial gap? If so, stop chasing the same scholarships to which hundreds of thousands of students are applying. Follow the steps in “Module 9 – Getting Organized for Scholarships.” Once you are organized and prepared to engage in a successful scholarship search, follow the steps outlined in “Module 10 – Applying for Scholarships.” Need help with your scholarship essays, attend our “Writing Winning Scholarship Essays Workshop.” Click here for more information…

Grades 9 – 11

While the first semester provided a focus on developing the body of work that will make you a competitive candidate for top colleges and competitive scholarships, we are now shifting our focus to developing a comprehensive list of college and scholarship options:

  • Liberal Arts or Research Universities
  • Honors Colleges
  • Test Optional/Test Blind Admissions
  • Dual Degree or Cooperative Education Programs
  • PWIs or HBCUs
  • Military Service Academies or ROTC Scholarship Programs
  • 2-year or 4-year Degree Programs
  • Special Opportunities for Athletes
  • Institutional versus Private Scholarship Programs

College planning is not something that you do in addition to school, but is the reason that you are doing school! What are the opportunities that you want your coursework, grades, and test scores to open? How do you want leadership and service to position you for top scholarships? The competition to get into top colleges or to be offered top scholarships is fierce. Pursuing exceptionality is a pathway toward full college scholarships and away from thousands of dollars in student loan debt—pay now (by doing the work) or pay later (with thousands of dollars in student loan debt)!

Congratulations

Congratulations to cohort students who “Owned the Process” during the first semester, and who have been awarded College Planning Cohort Student Achievement Awards:

  • 8th Grade: Anna Nguyen; Briana DeStoppelaire; Jocelyne Lioe; Josiah Walker; Nathan Graff; and Savannah Ford-Myers.
  • 9th Grade: Chelsea Brown and Kanaan Smith.
  • 10th Grade: Collin Brown; Kierra Hernandez; Myles Ayers; Omar Dixon, Jr.; Seth Thomas; and Terrell Reeves.
  • 11th Grade: Ashley McFadden; Caleb McCoy; Conner Belin; Hubert Pugzlys; Imani Harris; Joanne Lioe; Joshua Salter; Juliana Itehua; Justin Cleckley; Rachel Thompson; and Zyra Fulton.

SAT/ACT Testing

In part, due to COVID-19 related cancellations of SAT and ACT testing dates, many colleges will continue to be test optional or test blind in 2021 and 2022. However, many merit-based scholarships will continue to require submission of SAT or ACT scores.

High school juniors who plan to submit test scores, should develop a plan to achieve their target ACT scores by the June 12th testing date. Juniors focusing on the SAT should plan to achieve their highest scores by the June 5th testing date. High school sophomores should consider taking the June exam to get their baseline score to guide their junior-year course taking and exam preparation.

Why do we advise students to focus on one exam and why do we recommend the ACT? Review “Module 3: Unit 8 – Why focus on the ACT?”

Student/Parent Meetings

At the heart of our program is the partnership between our advisors and families. We are now scheduling Zoom Meetings with students and parents. The purpose of the meetings are to respond to parent/student questions, provide feedback as to student progress, and provide recommendations as to actions that students may take to further increase their competitiveness as a college/scholarship applicant.

After completing the January Module: Mid-year Assessment, students or parents should email us with preferred meeting days/times. Meetings are currently being scheduled for February 6 and 20; and March 6, 20, and 27 between the hours of 9:00 am – 2:00 pm.

February Meeting Schedule

Monthly Meeting Schedule: The second Saturday of each month.

Florence School District 3 February Sessions (5:00 pm – 6:30 pm): (Click here to register; Meeting ID 894 9627 2665). Tuesday/Thursday; February 2 – 25.

February 13, 2021 (9:00 am – 11:00 am): 9th and 10th Grades (Click here to register; Meeting ID: 838 2462 4377). Students will present their January final presentations in their Discussion Group.

February 13, 2021 (10:00 am – 12:30 pm): 11th and 12th Grades (Click here to register; Meeting ID: 843 9332 9122). Juniors will present their January final presentations in their Discussion Group.

February 27, 2021 (9:00 am – Noon): 7th – 11th Grades. We will be celebrating and recognizing Pinellas County Schools students in grades 7 – 11. Celebrating first semester achievements; setting second semester goals; and building résumés. Current cohort students will be serving as Discussion Group Leaders during our all-virtual presentation and breakout sessions. Click here to register…

Report Cards and Transcripts: Please submit your first semester report cards and transcripts.

Want to Join a Cohort?

College admissions is more competitive than ever. NYU received an unprecedented 100,000 applications. Now is the time, particularly for high school juniors, to join our program as the second semester is a critical time to finalize the body of work (i.e., grades, test scores, leadership, and service) that will be represented in your college applications.

ASA Guide Right Black Male Mentoring Program: Contact Doug Lucas: dlucasjr@aol.com

Atlanta-area and National Cohort: Contact Mychal-David Wynn: mdwynn@accessandequity.org

Pinellas County Schools: Contact Dr. Lewis Brinson, Minority Achievement Officer: brinsonle@pcsb.org

Florence County School District 3: Contact Ms. Kendra Wilson, Guidance Counselor: kwilson@fsd3.org

Click here to learn more about our cohorts and other programs…

 


Nationally Recognized | 2020 Magna Award First Place Winner | National School Boards Association.

 

Newsletter: January 1, 2021

Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)

Vision and Clarity 

Happy New Year! As you enter 2021, you must do so with a vision of what you wish to accomplish. You must also develop clarity as to how you will accomplish your vision. Each year, many students begin our college planning cohort program with a “Vision” of being offered admission to top colleges and awarded full scholarships. However, far too many students lack “Clarity” in understanding the work and commitment required to achieve their vision. Are you clear in your vision and are you pursuing the ‘right’ vision? For example, do you have a vision of getting into a highly selective school like Harvard, or a vision of getting into a great college with a full scholarship? Are you beginning 2021 with a vision of being a ‘good’ student or with a vision of being an ‘exceptional’ student?


Exceptional Students

For the first time since 2008, we did not host our Annual College Panel Discussion in which we bring together former cohort students to share their college experiences. In December, 2019, we hosted our last pre-COVID-19 College Panel. The great group of students, all of whom had both clarity of vision and clarity of purpose, are proceeding on course toward fulfilling their respective postsecondary aspirations. Pictured from left to right: Avery Johnson has received his BA in Music Composition from Georgia State; Kyrah Felder has received her BS in Computer Science from Xavier University of Louisiana and is employed with Google; Justin Matthews is a senior at Dillard University pursuing a BS in Physics with plans to attend graduate school; Akilah Williams is a third-year student in the North Carolina A&T Honors College pursuing a BS in Kinesiology; Kimberly Hadaway is a senior at Williams College pursuing a BS in Mathematics with plans to attend graduate school; Loren Tsang is a third-year student at Williams College pursuing a BS in Political Science; Malathi Reddy is a third-year student in the Northeastern University Honors College pursuing a BA in Communications; Nina Shack is a second-year student at Middle Tennessee State University pursuing a BS in the Professional Pilot Program; Landon Wade is a second-year student at Northeastern University pursuing a BS in Civil Engineering; Summer Ford is a second-year student at the University of Georgia pursuing a BS in Genetics; and Whitney Williams is a third-year student in the Spelman Honors College pursuing a BA in Political Science.

We are grateful to have had Justin, Kimberly, Nina, Summer, and Whitney serve as college interns in our college planning boot camps over the summer or as Discussion Group Leaders in our 2020-21 College Planning Cohort Program. We are also pleased to announce that one of our planned panelist, UMBC Meyerhoff Scholar, Samuel Patterson, III, who was unable to return to Georgia in time to appear on the panel, has been selected as a 2021 Rhodes Scholar!

Kyrah Felder, who attended Xavier University of Louisiana on a full scholarship had multiple full scholarship offers. Her younger brother, Khalil is a current high school senior in our Atlanta-area cohort, and, like his older sister, has earned the grades and test scores to qualify for multiple full scholarship opportunities—clarity of vision and clarity of purpose.

Congratulations to our Early Decision Cohort Students 

As we predicted, college admissions this year has been the most competitive ever. Harvard only offered admission to only 747 (124 Black students) of the 10,086 students who applied via Early Decision. Despite the COVID-19 disruptions to their senior year of high school, cohort seniors who completed their junior-year activities and participated in our summer boot camp, were well positioned to present competitive applications and high quality essays to their colleges. We want to congratulate those students who received Early Decision admission offers:

  • Faith K. – Marietta High School IB Program, Marietta, GA: University of Chicago
  • Jada F. – South Cobb High School, Austell, GA: Mount Holyoke College
  • Jaylon O. – Elite Scholars Academy, Jonesboro, GA: University of Chicago
  • Joel B. – Northside Christian School, St. Petersburg, FL: Berklee College of Music
  • Kailer B. – Mount Paran Christian School, Kennesaw, GA: Wesleyan University

Full Scholarship Opportunities

Our Class of 2021 has already been offered $2.7 million dollars in scholarships with several of our cohort seniors are being considered for full merit scholarships. The following students are moving into the next round of competition and interviews:

  • Daniella de L.V. – Western Guilford High School, Greensboro, NC: East Carolina Honors College
  • Gabrielle Q. – Campbell High School, Power Springs, GA: North Carolina A&T Honors Program and Dowdy and Cheatham-White Scholarships
  • Jacob P. – Northwest Guildford High School, Greensboro, NC: Eastern Kentucky Honors Program
  • Jasausha P. – Lake City Early College High School, Lake City, SC: Claflin University Honors Program
  • Khalil F. – North Cobb High School, Kennesaw, GA: North Carolina A&T Honors Program and Dowdy and Cheatham-White Scholarships
  • Sydnee B. – Mount Paran Christian School, Kennesaw, GA: North Carolina A&T Honors Program and Dowdy and Cheatham-White Scholarships
  • Tyra G. – Collins Hill High School, Suwanee, GA: North Carolina A&T Honors Program and Dowdy and Cheatham-White Scholarships; and Claflin University Honors Program

In our May 2021 newsletter, we will provide a full listing of our 2020/21 cohort students and their college enrollment decisions.

Attention Seniors: Close Your Financial Aid Gaps

Cohort seniors should now have a good estimate of their financial aid gaps. Modules 9 and 10 in the 2020-21 High School Senior Classroom provides strategies in researching and applying for scholarships. Many seniors who have been offered admission by the right colleges have manageable financial aid gaps that may be closed with small local scholarships.

Other students interested in researching scholarships are encouraged to begin your scholarship research with the Show Me the Money: A Quick Guide ($5.95) or Show Me the Money: A Comprehensive Guide to Scholarships, Financial Aid, and Making the Right College Choice Digital Download ($9.95).

Grades 9 – 11

The January module includes a self-assessment of first semester accomplishments and a self-evaluation of each student’s competitiveness as a college applicant based on their achievements to date. High school juniors in the 2020/21 High School Junior Classroom will begin an accelerated pace to finalize their college admissions strategy by June, 2021, so that they may enter the summer focused on finalizing essays and developing high quality college application packages.

Discussion Groups will provide opportunities for students to present their December final presentations in which they finalize their 4-part plan for developing their gifts and talents; planning their coursework; planning their leadership and service; and pursuing activities and summer programs consistent with their college/career aspirations.

Please submit first semester report cards and update your Profiles.

Attention Parents

Our program is based on the concept of cultivating conversational communities. In this regard, we outline the work and students complete the work; thereby providing a context for enriching conversations between students, parents, and discussion group leaders. Parents have a critically important role in this process, so we encourage parents to join us in our monthly virtual meetings to ensure that you fully understand the type of second semester college planning strategies in which we are guiding students. The second semester junior-year work of our current high school seniors, is being rewarded in their college acceptances and scholarship awards.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1920 – 1968)

Facebook Postings…

We post important content regularly to our College Planning Cohort Facebook Page. Please ‘Like’ our page so that you stay up to date on the latest in college planning news.

Mark Your Calendar

Monthly Meeting Schedule:The second Saturday of each month.

January 9, 2021 – 9:00 am – 11:00 am: 9th – 10th Grades (click here to register; Meeting ID: 838 2462 4377). Students will present their December final presentations in their Discussion Group.

January 9, 2021 – 10:00 am – 12:30 pm: 11th and 12th Grades (click here to register; Meeting ID: 843 9332 9122). Juniors will present their December final presentations in their Discussion Group.
Florence School District 3 January Sessions – 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm: (click here to register; Meeting ID 894 9627 2665). Dates to Be Determined.

Report Cards and Transcripts: Please submit your first semester report cards and transcripts.

Want to Join a Cohort?

ASA Guide Right Black Male Mentoring Program: Contact Doug Lucas: dlucasjr@aol.com
Pinellas County Schools: Contact Dr. Lewis Brinson, Minority Achievement Officer: brinsonle@pcsb.org
Florence County School District 3: Contact Ms. Kendra Wilson, Guidance Counselor: kwilson@fsd3.org
Click here to learn more…

Attention High School Juniors – Join a Cohort: Register Now
This is a critical time for cohort students to invite their friends, family members, and classmates to join our program. While any student in grades 9 – 11 may register for program, it is particularly important for high school juniors sign up now. The second semester is a critical time for high school juniors to finalize the body of work (i.e., grades, test scores, leadership, and service) that they wish to be represented in their college applications.

Click here to learn more about our cohorts and other programs…


Nationally Recognized | 2020 Magna Award First Place Winner | National School Boards Association.

 

Newsletter: December 1, 2020

 

Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)

Congratulations to Samuel Patterson, III – 2021 Rhodes Scholar

This month’s newsletter celebrates our 2017 Turner Chapel AME Church Cohort student, Samuel Patterson, III (pictured here), who, on Sunday, November 22, 2020, was named as a 2021 Rhodes Scholar. Sam also has the remarkable honor of being a finalist for the Marshall Scholarship. Serving as Education Ministry Leaders of the Turner Chapel AME Church in Marietta, Georgia from 2007 – 2020, and since beginning our College Planning Cohort Program in 2013, my wife and I have shared in the amazing journeys of many students and families. Our program focuses on assisting students in identifying the postsecondary pathways aligned with their ‘body of work.’ In this manner, we have students who begin college at technical or community college, in-state public universities, and at the country’s most selective colleges and universities. The body of work for some students has resulted in their selection as Gates Millennium Scholars, Posse Foundation Scholars, Northeastern University Torch Scholars, Elon University Odyssey Scholars, NC A&T Dowdy Scholars, North Carolina Central Cheatham-White Scholars, QuestBridge Scholars, University of Richmond – Richmond Scholars, and in the case of Sam, Meyerhoff Scholar to Rhodes Scholar.

How we met Sam

In 2017, as a rising high school senior, Sam’s parents, on the advice of then, Turner Chapel AME Church Youth Pastor, Rev. Don Ezell, enrolled Sam in our College Planning Cohort Program. Unlike students who begin our program as they enter high school and are guided in developing a 4-year high school schedule of rigorous coursework, selection of extracurricular activities, pursuit of leadership roles, and intentional engagement in community service, as a high school senior, Sam was well prepared to benefit from our program. He had attended one of the best trio of schools in Georgia—Mt. Bethel Elementary School, Dickerson Middle School, and Walton High School. Taking advantage of available opportunities, Sam was academically accomplished in a rigorous 4-year high school schedule of honors and AP coursework and earned high SAT scores. Consequently, Sam was well positioned to maximize the opportunities in our program.

Why we felt Sam was a perfect fit for UMBC

As Sam navigated our college planning curriculum, through which he affirmed his college major and desired career trajectory of studying economics, we discussed the idea of his pursuing a PhD in economics. Sam thought this to be a novel idea as his focus at the time was not that far into the future. We encouraged Sam to research the Meyerhoff Scholars Program at UMBC and the support they offered in assisting students of color in pursuing MDs/PhDs. We connected Sam to our former Florence School District 3 (SC) Cohort student, Mikayla Hanna, an undergraduate at UMBC (Meyerhoff Scholar and 2015 Gates Millennium Scholar), with aspirations of pursuing a PhD in bioinformatics.

Intrigued at the idea of expanding his aspirations from attaining a BA in Economics to entering college on a PhD pathway, we nominated Sam to the Meyerhoff Scholars Program. Sam was subsequently offered admission to the Honors College at UMBC and invited to the Meyerhoff Scholars Selection Weekend.

How preparation meets opportunity

Beginning with over 2,000 nominees, the Meyerhoff Scholars Selection Weekend brings together 100-150 of the most academically accomplished students from throughout the United States. Not only are students interested in pursuing MDs/PhDs in STEM disciplines, many students have participated in internships and engaged in research. During the selection weekend, Sam recounts, “I had never shared a space with so many academically accomplished Black students. Throughout all of my academic career, I was always the one, or one of two, Black students in my gifted and AP classes. Now, I was not only surrounded by Black students from across the country who were as academically accomplished as I was, but who had already engaged in research! I didn’t even know that high school students could engage in research.” Despite not having a research experience on his résumé, Sam had the level of coursework, grades, and test scores that made him a competitive candidate for becoming one of the 50 students accepted into the Meyerhoff Scholars Program, together with a $22,000 annual merit scholarship.

Own the Process

The mantra of our program is that students must, “Own the Process.” By so doing, students are encouraged to pursue exceptionality. We believe that exceptional preparation creates pathways to exceptional opportunities. Sam entered UMBC with this attitude, continually preparing himself for the exceptional opportunities afforded by the Meyerhoff Scholars Program. Sam has maintained a 4.0 GPA and on his way to graduating Summa Cum Laude from one of the most rigorous undergraduate programs in the United States—an honors college within an honors university. Sam asserted himself following a presentation by a visiting professor, asking questions and seeking guidance, which resulted in his first summer internship at Harvard. Sam engaged in his second summer internship at the University of Chicago, persistently creating an impressive body of work. As Sam had earned our nomination to the Meyerhoff Scholars program 3 years prior, he now earned nominations from the University of Maryland-Baltimore County and the Meyerhoff Scholars Program to the Rhodes Scholars and Marshall Scholars programs.

What is a Meyerhoff Scholar?

As an author, speaker, and trainer, for many years I have spoken in school districts and appeared at conferences throughout the United States, the US Virgin Islands, and Bermuda. At many such meetings, UMBC President, Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, has also been one of the featured speakers. In nearly every speech, Dr. Hrabowski has spoken fondly of the Meyerhoff Scholars Program. Dr. Hrabowski has served as the president of UMBC since 1992. UMBC is the honors university of the University of Maryland System where over 40 percent of students graduate with an undergraduate degree in a STEM discipline—well above the national average of 25 percent. The Meyerhoff Scholars Program, which began in 1988, originally focused on providing guidance and support for Black males interested in pursuing MDs/PhDs. The program has successfully guided students of color into being awarded more MDs/PhDs than any other university in the United States. Dr. Hrabowski notes, “I don’t care how smart you are, nothing takes the place of hard work.”

What is a Rhodes Scholar?

Rhodes Scholars are recipients of the Rhodes Scholarship, which, since 1903, has provided a full scholarship for students from throughout the world to pursue graduate study in any subject offered at Oxford University in England. Sam is one of 32 students in the University States to be selected for this 2021 global scholarship and is only the second student in UMBC history to be selected as a Rhodes Scholar

What is a Marshall Scholar?

Marshall Scholars are recipients of the Marshall ScholarshipThe scholarship is funded by the British Government and was originally created as a thank you for the Marshall Plan. The Marshall Scholarship allows selected students to pursue graduate study in any subject at any British university. In addition to earning a 3.7 GPA, Marshall Scholarship applicants must be endorsed by their university and receive 4 letters or recommendation, 3 of which must be academic recommendations.

What lessons should current cohort students learn from Sam’s example?

The first lesson to be learned from Sam’s journey is to maximize your opportunities. As a stand-up comedian and musician, Sam has developed multiple gifts. However, beginning in elementary school, first and foremost, he maximized his academic opportunities. Being intrinsically motivated to be a top academic student throughout elementary school, Sam positioned himself for advanced classes in middle school. Being a top academic student throughout middle school, Sam positioned himself for enrollment in the most rigorous academic coursework throughout high school, which included 14 AP classes. Sam’s AP exam scores earned him the honor of being recognized as an AP Scholar with Distinction and enough college credits to support graduating from UMBC with 3 undergraduate degrees (BS Math; BS Science; and BA Economics).

The second lesson to be learned from Sam’s journey is to “Own the Process.” While Sam maximized the available opportunities to become a competitive college applicant, he owned the process through his willingness to engage in our program. Sam recognized that being a top academic student is not enough, but that thoroughly researching colleges and scholarships; aligning essays with the mission of prospective colleges and scholarships; and packaging himself was required to ensure that he was the most competitive candidate possible. These early lessons repeated themselves in packaging his applications for the Marshall and Rhodes Scholars programs.

The final lesson to be learned from Sam’s journey is to pursue admission at the ‘right’ colleges and to apply for the ‘right’ scholarships. As a result of his thoughtful engagement in our program, Sam explored college options beyond Ivy League schools, the University of Georgia, and Georgia Tech—the college pathways pursued by the majority of students in his Georgia high school. In a video interview, Sam recounts not having a single friend, counselor, or teacher who was familiar with ‘UMBC,’ let alone the Meyerhoff Scholars Program. Consequently, Sam pursued the right fit for him, without regard to brand, popularity, or where his friends were applying to college.

The most successful students in our program have embraced to these lessons. As a consequence of matching to the right programs and opportunities, we have many ‘Firsts’ in our program. Not only are many of our students the first in their family to attend college, they are the first in their high schools to be offered admission to such schools as UMBC, Williams, Amherst, Bowdoin, Carleton, Mount Holyoke, and Swarthmore; and the first to be selected as Meyerhoff Scholars, Richmond Scholars, Odyssey Scholars, QuestBridge Scholars, Torch Scholars, Cheatham-White Scholars, or Dowdy Scholars. Sam recounts why UMBC is the ‘right’ school and the Meyerhoff Scholarship is the ‘right’ scholarship for him. “The Meyerhoff Scholars Program was the right fit for me. I am going to a school that is catering to my needs, seeing me as an individual, and helping me out as evidenced by all of the opportunities and support that they are giving me.”

We congratulate and celebrate Samuel Patterson, III, as our first Rhodes Scholar. We trust that Sam’s story will inspire other cohort students to dream big and to reach higher. (Read Press Release)

Mark Your Calendar

Monthly Meeting Schedule:The second Saturday of each month.

December 12, 2020 – 9:00 am – 11:00 am: 9th – 10th Grades (click here to register; Meeting ID: 838 2462 4377). Students will present their November final presentations in their Discussion Group.

December 12, 2020 – 10:00 am – 12:30 pm:11th and 12th Grades (click here to register; Meeting ID: 843 9332 9122). Juniors will present their November final presentations in their Discussion Group.

Florence School District 3 December Sessions – 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm: (click here to register; Meeting ID 894 9627 2665)

Tuesday: December 1
Thursday: December 3
Tuesday: December 8
Thursday: December 10
Tuesday: December 15
Thursday: December 17

Report Cards and Transcripts: Please submit your first semester report cards and transcripts.

New Facebook Page

We appreciate Jalani Wynn, our new Media Director, for developing our College Planning Cohort Facebook Page. We have been posting and emailing important content pertaining to college admissions, scholarships, and virtual college fairs. Click here and ‘Like’ and ‘Follow’ us on Facebook. 


Nationally Recognized | 2020 Magna Award First Place Winner | National School Boards Association.

 

Newsletter: November 1, 2020

 

Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)


November 1 Early Decision and Early Action Deadlines

Today is an important deadline for thousands of high school seniors applying to colleges via Early Decision and Early Action. Applying to colleges via Early Decision is a strategy that has historically given advantage to students from affluent families who are not as dependent on financial aid as students from lower and middle income families. However, by guiding students in thoughtfully developing a list of schools with need-based and ‘no-loans’ financial aid policies, many cohort students will maximize their chances of being offered admission by applying Early Decision to selective colleges and universities offering generous need-based scholarships and grants. Students will also maximize their opportunities for being awarded merit-based institutional scholarships and grants by meeting today’s Early Action deadline for hundreds of colleges and universities.

Despite COVID-19 related school closures last March, our then high school juniors, continued working through our online activities, and attending our virtual sessions to finalize their college and scholarship research, write essays, and plan their college admissions strategies. As a result of their efforts, most students entered their senior year focused on developing high quality college application packages for their Early Decision and Early Action schools. Those efforts have paid off with many cohort students having already received multiple acceptances from schools to which they applied by October 15 Early Action deadlines.

FAFSA Completion Sessions

The FAFSA filing period for students applying for financial aid for the 2021-22 academic year opened on October 1. During October, we hosted two well attended Virtual FAFSA Completion Sessions for students in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Completing the FAFSA is one of the best predictors that a student will enroll into college in the fall immediately following high school graduation. Completing the FAFSA as soon as possible after the opening of the FAFSA filing period provides students with the greatest opportunities for state, federal, and institutional scholarships and grants.

Following are the FAFSA Completion Rates by state, according to FAFSA Tracker:

  • Florida – 49.5%
  • South Carolina – 55.2%
  • North Carolina – 55.5%
  • Georgia – 57.8%

Let’s Give a Shout Out!

We appreciate the outreach efforts of Florence School District 3 Guidance Counselors: Ms. Wilson (12th Grade), Ms. Haynes (10th/11th Grades), and Ms. McDaniel (9th-11th Grades); and Pinellas County Schools Counselors: Mrs. Heatly (12th Grade – Lakewood High School), and Dr. McKee, (8th Grade – Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School).

Ms. Wilson and Ms. Haynes hosted the first week or the twice-per-week after school college planning sessions for Lake City Early College High School students to jump start their participation in our program. We are excited by the progress and persistence of students as they work to complete the September and October Modules. A big shout out to Florence School District 3 Superintendent of Schools, Mrs. Laura Hickson, and to Dr. Lewis Brinson, Pinellas County Schools Minority Achievement Officer for expanding our program to include all high school students. 

We are giving a shout out to our son, Mychal-David Wynn (BA English, Amherst College) who recently completed the UCLA Certified College Counselor Certificate Program. He has done a great job and devoted long hours to editing college essays so that students can meet today’s Early Decision and Early Action deadlines.

Guilford County Schools First Generation College Student Ambassadors 

We share in the disappointment of Guilford County Schools students and parents that our nationally recognized First Generation College Students Ambassadors Program has yet to receive final approval for the 2020-21 school year. While we have not been able to continue our work with rising high school juniors and their families, we have provided scholarships to rising high school seniors so that our staff can continue assisting students in meeting critical deadlines and providing essay writing assistance. Despite the many COVID-19 disruptions to the lives of students and families, we are confident that our continued support of GCS Seniors will result in much deserved college and scholarship opportunities. Jacob P., one of our Guilford County Schools students from Northwest Guilford High School, has already received multiple college acceptances as he pursues a career in video game design.

October Recap

With monthly presentations due prior to the last day of the month, there was a flurry of activity on October 31 by cohort students in grades 8 – 11 submitting final presentations. While there were many great presentations from which to choose, we have chosen the presentation of one of our 8th graders to profile in this month’s newsletter. The slide presented below is taken from Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School 8th Grader, Briana D.’s October Presentation, in which she shares her high school research. In her summary, Briana provides insight into the connections between her gifts, talents, and interests with available high school choices in Pinellas County Schools (FL) well in advance of the January 6 – 15 High School Choice Application Deadline. Briana’s presentation provides insight into the “Backwards Mapping” strategy in our program in which she identified Stanford University as her top college choice through her September college and career research. Then, through her October research into her high school options, Briana identified St. Petersburg High School as a viable pathway to becoming a competitive candidate for being offered admission to her top college choice—Stanford University.

Briana makes a strong connection between her gifts, talents, and high school choice:

“Some things that I am talented at are playing the violin, playing sports, writing, reading, math, science, dancing, singing, and acting. The things I would like to continue in my high school is advanced coursework in math, science, and English/Language Arts; and playing the violin and playing sports. I am planning to attend Saint Petersburg High School because great athletic programs, orchestra, and opportunities to take advanced classes through either their AP or IB Programs.” 

We are so impressed by the work ethic of Briana and other students in our 8th Grade Cohort that we are moving students into our 9th – 10th Grade Classroom. Students will continue to engage in their monthly discussions with other 8th graders while completing the same work as our high school students. 

November Sessions

Important actions for high school seniors:

  • Complete Your College Admissions Strategy Table
  • Complete Your College and Scholarship Essays Document
  • Complete Your Common Application
  • Select the Admission Cycle for Each of Your Schools

The November session will focus on important next steps in financial aid. Students in grades 9 – 11 have developed the first 2 parts of their 2020-21 college-bound plan:

  • October: Developing My Body of Work – Part I: Gifts and Talents
  • September: Developing My Body of Work – Part II: Personality and Interests

In November, students will prepare a final presentation on Developing My Body of Work – Part III: 4-year High School Schedule as part of a comprehensive strategy for maximizing high school opportunities through coursework, extracurricular activities, leadership, and community service to develop their gifts and talents, pursue their interests, and become exceptional college applicants. Students will present their October Final Presentations in their November discussion groups.

Mark Your Calendar

Monthly Meeting Schedule:The second Saturday of each month.

November 14, 2020 – 9:00 am – 11:00 am: 9th – 10th Grades (click here to register; Meeting ID: 838 2462 4377)

November 14, 2020 – 10:00 am – 12:30 pm:11th and 12th Grades (click here to register; Meeting ID: 843 9332 9122)

Florence School District 3 November Sessions – 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm: (click here to register; Meeting ID 894 9627 2665)

Monday: November 2
Thursday: November 5
Tuesday: November 10
Thursday: November 12
Tuesday: November 17
Thursday: November 19

Important Future Sessions for Seniors. See December Newsletter for dates and times:

  • Researching Scholarships
  • Understanding Financial Aid Award Letters
  • Finalizing College Enrollment Decisions

New Facebook Page

We appreciate Jalani Wynn, our new Media Director, for developing our College Planning Cohort Facebook Page. We have been posting and emailing important content pertaining to college admissions, scholarships, and virtual college fairs. Click here and ‘Like’ and ‘Follow’ us on Facebook. 

Visit our Blog for past newsletters…


Nationally Recognized | 2020 Magna Award First Place Winner | National School Boards Association.

 

Newsletter: October 12, 2020

October 12, 2020
Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)


October Virtual Cohort Meeting

On Saturday, October 10, 2020, we had an inspiring and informative meeting in which students and parents not only receive invaluable guidance from a Cornell University Admissions Officer, but learned about important opportunities for first generation and lower income students through the American Talent Initiative, of which Cornell is a university partner. Unfortunately, some students and parents were unable to participate in the meeting as a result of late registrations. To ensure that all students and parents fully understand the registration process for participating in future sessions, we have created this special edition newsletter to clarify the registration process and the controls that we have in place.

Pre-registration for Zoom Meetings

Pre-registration is required for each monthly meeting and is restricted to participating cohort students, their parents, mentors, authorized school district personnel, and Cohort Staff. The registration link is provided in our monthly newsletter, and sent via email to all registered students, coaches, mentors, interns, and school district personnel. If students have properly set up the email address used to register in our program to automatically forward to their parents, parents will receive the registration link through their student. Pre-registration is a security precaution to ensure that only authorized students, parents, coaches, mentors, and school district personnel have access to our meetings as a further method of reducing events of inappropriate actions or language by unknown participants.

Completing the Zoom Pre-registration

Because we are working with many community and school district partners, and hundreds of students, we require participants to fully complete the registration (see below). A parent should not simply indicate, “I am Mychal’s parent.” Believe it or not, we may have more than one Mychal in our program so indicating the first and last name of the student will allow us to immediately approve your registration. The same applies to mentors and school district personnel. We need to know the program in which you are serving as a mentor or school district that you are representing.

Zoom Pre-registration Deadlines

Our meeting coordinator is responsible for approving and admitting participants to our meetings. To facilitate this process, the meeting coordinator receives a listing of approved registrations prior to the meeting. Therefore, registrations cannot be processed on the day before or on the morning of a meeting. The deadline to pre-register is midnight on the Thursday prior to scheduled meetings. Students who miss the pre-registration deadline will not be admitted into the meeting and will be considered as an unexcused absence.

New Facebook Page

We would like to congratulate Jalani Wynn, our new Media Director, for developing our new College Planning Cohort Facebook Page. We will be posting important content regarding college admissions, scholarships, virtual college fairs, and other opportunities to assist students in maximizing their college and scholarship opportunities. Click here and ‘Like’ our Page.

Read the Newsletter!

Our College Planning Cohort News is released on the first of each month and contains our monthly meeting schedule. Whenever we have a change to our meeting schedule, as was the case with our October 10th meeting in which we brought together students and parents from grades 8 – 12, the change is announced in the newsletter and communicated through emails. Click here if you would like to join our newsletter distribution list.

Normal meeting schedule:

The second Saturday of each month:

9:00 am – 11:00 am: 9th – 10th Grades (click here to register for the November 14, 2020, Meeting ID: 838 2462 4377)
10:00 am – 12:30 pm:11th and 12th Grades (click here to register for the November 14, 2020, Meeting ID: 843 9332 9122)

The third Saturday of each month: 10:00 am – Noon:Middle school students (click hereto pre-register for the October, 17, 2020, Meeting ID: 894 9765 9938)

Visit our Blog for past newsletters…

Nationally Recognized | 2020 Magna Award First Place Winner | National School Boards Association. 2020 Full Scholarships: Appalachian State; Benedict; Bowdoin; Carleton; Claflin; Johnson & Wales; North Carolina A&T; North Carolina Central; Tuskegee; UNC – Pembroke; University of Chicago; Wake Forest; and Williams. 

Newsletter: October 1, 2020

Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)

September Recap

In our September virtual sessions, students in grades 8 – 11 were introduced to their Discussion Leader and to students on their grade level from throughout the country. Our goal is to keep these small group discussions consistent from month-to-month such that students may find a comfortable space to engage in the type of “Conversational Community” being cultivated by the country’s most selective colleges and universities; spaces where students’ voices are valued and where there is a free flowing exchange of ideas and opinions. We believe that the value of our curriculum is revealed through how students process that they learn, develop strategies, and set goals to operationalize their strategies.

The final unit in each monthly module guides students in creating a presentation in response to the question, “What has become clearer to me?” In September, 8th graders completed an Interest Profile to guide their college and career research; students in grades 9 – 11 conceptualized strategies to maximize strengths and strengthen weaknesses; high school seniors finalized their college admissions strategy. Small group discussions were guided by a great group of volunteers, high school interns, and college interns representing Bowdoin College, George Washington University, Spelman College, and the University of Chicago. 

Each month, we will select a slide from one of our students’ final presentation (grades 8 – 11) to profile in the newsletter. While we reviewed many well done final presentations for September, we have selected a slide from a Pinellas County Schools’ 8th grader for this month’s newsletter. We believe that Savannah makes strong connections between her passions for acting, singing, reading, and baking with her college and career aspirations. The depth of her thinking, manner in which she engaged in her research, and the clarity of thought demonstrated through the goals that she has set for high school, are evident in her summary: 

“My current college and career focus is to attend Brown University on a full scholarship and graduate with a PhD in education. Then I want to teach either special education or theater in elementary school. I want to graduate high school with all A’s and as valedictorian or salutatorian of my high school class as Brown is one of the 8 Ivy League schools and very selective in its admission policies. I want to continue performing in theater and singing. I hope to build a strong résumé of academic achievement, leadership, and service throughout high school and graduate within the top 5% of my class, if I miss my goal of valedictorian or salutatorian. I want to continue babysitting and Girl Scouts as well as my community service and earn by Girl Scout Gold Award.”

October Sessions

Since our virtual sessions are not opened to the general public, all students, parents, interns, mentors, counselors, volunteers, and school district personnel and community partners must complete their Zoom registration in advance, and for each session. The Zoom registration links are sent via email and may not be shared with people who are not part of the aforementioned groups. When completing the registration, you must provide a complete name and identify your affiliation with our program, i.e., student, parent, school district personnel, etc.

Saturday, October 10, 2020: 10:00 am – 12:30 pm

 

We will host a special October Session for high school students (grades 9 – 12) on Saturday, October 10, 2020, from 10:00 am – 12:30 pm. We will have a special presentation by admissions officers from Cornell University. Cornell, a private research university and one of the 8 Ivy League institutions, is made up of 7 undergraduate colleges. While we regret not having our small group discussions, we believe it critically important for our high school seniors, many of whom are planning to submit Early Decision applications, to hear from admissions officers at one of the country’s top ranked research universities. The discussion will touch on such topics as selective college admissions, how applications are reviewed, the potential advantages of applying Early Decision, and the importance of essays and teacher recommendations within the context of your college application package. Cohort students and parents are required to confirm their participation in this session prior to midnight on Thursday, October 8, 2020. While the information is particularly relevant for high school seniors, we believe that understanding what admissions officers at selective schools are looking for in prospective students can assist any student in planning their high school trajectory. 

Students and parents may submit questions to us, via email, by midnight on Sunday, October 4, 2020.

Saturday, October 17, 2020: 10:00 – Noon

The monthly session for 8th graders will provide an overview of the October Module: High School Research, in which students research high schools and high school programs aligned with their gifts, talents, interests, college, and career aspirations. Students will have the opportunity to share their final presentations in their discussion groups. Students and parents are required to confirm their participation in this session prior to midnight on Thursday, October 15, 2020. A reminder that students in attendance during the September session agreed to recruit one student as a demonstration of leadership and service.

Saturday, October 24, 2020: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

The FAFSA Assistance Session will assist high school seniors and parents in completing the FAFSA and CSS Profile. Students and parents should be prepared with their 2019 federal tax information, driver’s license, and social security number. The session will provide step-by-step guidance through the FAFSA completion process. High school seniors and parents are required to confirm their participation in this session prior to midnight on Thursday, October 22, 2020.

Today marks the opening of the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) filing period for high school seniors and current college students seeking financial aid for the 2021/22 academic year. Students and parents will use information from their 2019 federal tax returns to complete the FAFSA and use additional information regarding assets, including home ownership, savings, and retirement accounts to complete the CSS/Profile, required by many private colleges and universities. While completing the FAFSA can be frustrating, if not intimidating for high school seniors and parents, it should not be delayed for many reasons, including:

  1. Many colleges allocate their financial aid resources, including FSEOG funding, on a first-come first-served basis.
  2. Some FAFSA applications are ‘Selected for Verification’ which can delay the process.
  3. Some schools request noncustodial parent information, which can further delay the process.
  4. While all need-based financial aid considerations are based on the FAFSA, some merit-based scholarships, such as athletic scholarships, require the submission of a FAFSA as well.
  5. Some schools will require a copy of the student’s and parents’ IRS Transcript prior to finalizing a student’s financial aid package.
  6. A student can only list up to ten colleges on their FAFSA. Consequently, students applying to more colleges than 10 colleges must submit a FAFSA to 10 colleges; wait for the FAFSA to process; replace the colleges with additional colleges; and submit the FAFSA again. This process must be repeated for any updates to a student’s FAFSA or as a result of the verification process.

Even students from high income families who will not qualify for need-based financial aid are required to complete the FAFSA in order to qualify for low-interest federally backed student loans.

Welcome

We are excited to welcome back our First Generation College Student Ambassadors (Guilford County Schools) and welcome high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors from Florence County School District 3 (SC). We are also excited to be working closely with school counselors: Ms. Haynes, Ms. McDaniels, and Ms. Wilson in Florence County School District 3.

If you do not attend school in one of our partner districts, you may still join our program from anywhere in the United States: Click here to register…

Visit our Blog for past newsletters…

Nationally Recognized | 2020 Magna Award First Place Winner | National School Boards Association. 2020 Full Scholarships: Appalachian State; Benedict; Bowdoin; Carleton; Claflin; Johnson & Wales; North Carolina A&T; North Carolina Central; Tuskegee; UNC – Pembroke; University of Chicago; Wake Forest; and Williams. 

Newsletter: September 1, 2020

Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)


Welcome to our 2020/21 College Planning Cohort

COVID-19 has created disruptions to school districts and college campuses, and in response, we have developed a completely virtual 2020/21 College Planning Cohort Program for students in grades 9 – 12 AND for middle school 8th graders. Our program will provide step-by-step guidance for high school seniors navigating the many changes to college admissions, and will provide students in grades 8 – 11 with guidance in developing the ‘body of work’ that will open doors to top colleges and large dollar scholarships.

We are excited to continue working with our school district partners (Florence County School District 3, Guilford County Schools, and Pinellas County Schools) and community-based partners (Ghana United Christian Church, Kappa Alpha Psi ASA Guide Right, Turner Chapel AME Church, and World Victory International Christian Center).

We are particularly excited to have so many returning and new students represented in our Atlanta-area and national cohorts from California, Georgia, Indiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas. Whenever their schedule permits, our extraordinary group of college interns from Amherst, Bowdoin, Dillard, George Mason, George Washington, Howard, North Carolina A&T, North Carolina Central, Northeastern, Spelman, University of Chicago, University of Georgia, and Williams will be joining our monthly sessions to share their pearls of wisdom and provide insight into their respective campuses.

If you are one of our former cohort students, currently attending college, and interested in volunteering as an intern at one or our monthly sessions, please contact us.

Program Overview

Our College Planning Cohort Program is designed around a comprehensive college planning curriculum. Our curriculum is student centered and future focused. The core questions are, “Who am I?” and “What do I aspire to do?” What are the college/career aspirations aligned with each student’s gifts, talents, and personality? What are the opportunities available to each student within his/her high school and community to nurture their gifts and support their aspirations? What are the attitude, skills, and work ethic consistent with each student’s college and career aspirations?

Engaging in authentic self-reflection, ongoing self-assessment, and setting goals consistent with each student’s college and career aspirations are the cornerstones of success in school today and successfully pursuing college and careers in the future. Consequently, our curriculum provides a context for conversations around personality types, interests, strengths and weaknesses, gifts and talents, leadership, service, and grit. Students learn more about themselves, become vested in their own success, and engage in ongoing goal setting in their pursuit of exceptionality.

To accomplish this ambitious undertaking, students are expected to complete the monthly lessons between sessions; prepare a final presentation for each month; and be prepared to participate in small group discussions. The program developers/advisors, Mr. and Mrs. Wynn, will conclude each monthly meeting with a question and answer session for parents and students.

You Must Register to Attend The Live Virtual Sessions

To ensure security and protect student privacy, only registered students and parents may be admitted into the virtual sessions.

Pre-registration is required:

  1. All participants must register in advance with the link provided.
  2. Participants will only be allowed into the session with a valid first and last name.
  3. Participants using cell phones must identify themselves so that our staff may replace their cell phone number with their name.
  4. Participants who violate any of our policies will be permanently removed immediately from the session.

Online Classrooms Open Today

All registered students have been assigned to a grade-level appropriate online classroom:

  • 2020-21 Middle School Classroom (Grade 8)
  • 2020-21 9th – 10th Grade Classroom
  • 2020-21 High School Junior Classroom
  • 2020-21 High School Senior Classroom

The final lesson in most monthly modules for students in grades 8 – 11 require students to create a presentation summarizing what they learned. These presentations will be discussed during the following month (i.e., September Presentations will be discussed during the October Session).

Important Actions for New Students

All participating students must develop a narrative document, profile, and academic résumé in the format used by our program. New students must complete the ‘Welcome to Our Program’ activities prior to being enrolled into an online classroom. You may read more about these actions in the Welcome – Registration Packet (Section IX: How to Begin).

Would you like to join a cohort? Click here to register…

Mark Your Calendar

September 1, 2020: 2020/21 Online Classrooms open to all registered students in grades 8 – 12.

September 5, 2020: Guilford County Schools (Note: We are awaiting final confirmation from the district) Pre-registration Required…

High School Juniors

  • 9:00 am – 10:00 am: Large Group Presentation for Seniors.
  • 10:00 am – 11:00 am: Small Group Breakout Sessions (Seniors)
  • 11:00 am – 11:30 am: Large Group Wrap-up (Seniors)
  • 11:30 am – Noon: Parent/Student Q&A

High School Seniors

  • Noon – 1:00 pm: Large Group Presentation for Juniors.
  • 1:00 pm – 2:00 am: Small Group Breakout Sessions (Juniors)
  • 2:00 pm – 2:30 am: Large Group Wrap-up (Juniors)
  • 2:30 pm – 3:00 pm: Parent/Student Q&A

September 12, 2020: Pinellas County Schools and National Cohort Students (Grades 9 – 12). High School Students (Grades 9 – 12) will meet from 9:00 am – 12:30 pm. Only opened to registered students. Pre-registration Required…

  • 9:00 am – 9:45 am: Large Group Presentation for Grades 9 – 11.
  • 9:45 am – 10:30 am: Small Group Breakout Sessions (Grades 9 – 11)
  • 10:00 am – 10:45 am: Large Group Presentation for High School Seniors
  • 10:45 am – 11:30 am: Small Group Breakout Sessions (Seniors)
  • 11:30 am – Noon: Student Q&A
  • Noon – 12:30 pm: Parents Only Q&A 

September 19, 2020: Pinellas County Schools and National Cohort Students (Grade 8). Pre-registration Required…

  • 10:00 am – 10:45 am: Large Group Presentation for 8th Graders
  • 10:45 am – 11:30 am: Small Group Breakout Sessions (8th Graders)
  • 11:30 am – Noon: Student/Parent Q&A

Need to Register?

Click here to learn more about our cohorts and other programs…

Nationally Recognized | 2020 Magna Award First Place Winner | National School Boards Association. 2020 Full Scholarships: Appalachian State; Benedict; Bowdoin; Carleton; Claflin; Johnson & Wales; North Carolina A&T; North Carolina Central; Tuskegee; UNC – Pembroke; University of Chicago; Wake Forest; and Williams.