Newsletter: November 1, 2019

November 1, 2019
Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)

Cohort Alumni

Turner Chapel AME Church Cohort alumna, and Spelman College Honors College freshman, Whitney Williams, has been selected for the prestigious Bluford Medical Healthcare Leadership Institute. Customarily open to rising sophomores, the program identifies undergraduates with exceptional leadership potential for today’s challenging healthcare landscape, cultivating them for future leadership roles in the field of healthcare. As a result of her academic achievement and demonstrated leadership, which includes being elected Vice-president of the Spelman College Freshman Class, Whitney will join scholars from throughout the country at the leadership institute in Kansas City, Missouri.

High School Seniors

High school seniors have been working hard to finalize essays and college applications as outlined in, “Chapter 13: Your Application Strategy,” of A High School Plan for Students with College-Bound Dreams, in advance of today’s Early Action and Early Decision Deadlines. Applying Early Action expands scholarship consideration, while applying Early Decision, increases your chances of being offered admission. Beyond today’s deadlines, seniors will need to continue working to meet Regular Decision, Early Decision II, and Early Action II deadlines.

Note: All cohort students must complete their College and Scholarship Table, noting all colleges to which they have submitted applications, and tracking admission decisions and scholarship offers.

Congratulations to Rashaad and Bre’an

Rashaad (pictured here), from our Florence County School District 3 Cohort, and Bre’an, from our Atlanta-area Cohort, join our cohort of QuestBridge Finalists with their selection as 2019 QuestBridge College Match Finalists. As a College Match Finalists, Rashaad and Bre’an will have the opportunity of matching to a full scholarship at one of the 40 QuestBridge partner schools, including 5 of the 8 Ivy League schools.

Grades 9 – 11

Please note the following actions:

  • Finalize your 4-year course schedules and academic goals
  • Submit a copy of your report card
  • Submit a copy of your high school profile
  • Finalize your responses to the October Guiding Questions

The November focus will be on careers and college majors in advance of the December focus on summer planning. The September, October, November, and December modules, provide the foundation of our focus on, “Backwards Mapping:”

  • Identify your desired colleges and scholarships
  • Identify the body or work required to be a competitive applicant
  • Set academic, leadership, and community service goals
  • Identify the career and college major you are interested in pursuing
  • Identify the summer programs that will allow you to explore your career and college options, while continuing to build an impressive résumé

Our 10th Annual Turner Chapel AME Church Education Ministry College Fair was a huge success with several hundred people attending my pre-college fair workshop during which I spoke to students about backwards mapping and shared startling statistics about scholarships and student loan debt:

  • Only .3% of all college students are on full scholarships
  • Only 2% of college athletes are receiving athletic scholarships
  • Over 70% of college students have incurred an average of $30,000 in student loan debt

We were elated to have fraternities, sororities, and 100 Black Men of Atlanta sponsor busloads of young men and women to attend the college fair and workshop. Many high school seniors, who followed our advice and brought copies of their résumés, transcripts, and SAT/ACT Score Reports, were blessed with on-the-spot college acceptances and full scholarships.

Pictured here with a representative from Duke University, is Omar, a high school freshman and member of our Atlanta-area cohort. Omar has demonstrated an incredible work ethic and clarity of focus as he has embraced our College Planning Cohort curriculum and been intentional in setting academic, leadership, and community service goals. Although our Summer Planning units are not introduced until December, as a high school freshman, Omar has already conducted his summer planning research and been invited to theWashington University Pre-med Summer Institute. Omar is on track to take the most rigorous classes offered at the Paulding County High School Academy of Science, Research, and Medicine. Paulding County High School Salutatorian and cohort alumna, Kimberly Hadaway, a third-year student at Williams College, who received $1.8 million in scholarship offers from Duke, Amherst, Williams, Vanderbilt, Washington & Lee, and Princeton, provides a roadmap for Omar. In his response to one of the October Guiding Questions, Omar embraces the concept of “Backwards Mapping,” by providing clarity and intentionality in his 4-year planning. 

Guiding Question #3 – Engage in a self-assessment of your 4-year course schedule? Are you planning to take the most rigorous classes offered? If yes, why? If no, why not? Are you planning to take electives relating to your gifts and talents, such as music, art, computer programming? If no, why not? What academic honors are you pursuing? 

“I am planning to take the most rigorous courses that my school offers because I want to succeed in these courses and show colleges that I can handle a rigorous workload and I believe this will make me more of a competitive candidate for the colleges I apply to. I also want to take AP courses to earn college credit.I am taking electives that relate to my interests. For example, I am taking the Healthcare pathway that my school offers. As a magnet program student, I am considering taking the Allied Health Pathway because I want to become a neurosurgeon. I am also considering doing speech and debate because I don’t play an instrument.The academic honors I am pursuing include Dean’s List, graduating with honors, AP Scholar, and High-Class Rank.”  — Omar D., Atlanta-area Cohort

As a high school freshman, Omar’s response provides insight into how cohort students who are intentional in their college planning distinguish themselves from the millions of US high school students who, because of their laissez-faire attitude toward school, are failing to successfully compete with international students, as profiled in the documentary film, “2 Million Minutes.”

Atlanta-area Cohort student and high school junior, Tyra G., is an alumna of the Harvard Debate Council’s Diversity Project, and is one of several cohort students whom we are nominating to the Yale Young Global Scholars Program. Participation in summer and pre-college programs pertaining to your current passions and future career interests, can positively impact your competitiveness as a college applicant. Our older son (Amherst ’12), attended two football camps hosted, through which he built relationships with coaches and admissions officers at Amherst College long prior to submitting his Early Decision application.

SAT, ACT, and PSAT Testing
As you review your first semester grades, determine how much, if any, you have closed your SAT/ACT knowledge gaps. If you took a practice test prior to the beginning of the school year, take another practice test and carefully review your wrong answers. If you are not closing your knowledge gaps, then revisit Module 2: Unit 6, “Lesson – Test Scores.” Meet with each subject-area teacher and incorporate the strategies outlined. Current high school seniors who did not follow our recommended timeline of achieving their target test scores by June of their junior year are now dreading having scores too low to qualify for institutional scholarships or admission to their top college choices. While test prep strategies can help, there is no substitute for ‘knowing the information.’

November Discussion Topics

Grades 9 – 11: Bring copies of your Narratives and Careers and College Majors documents. Be prepared to discuss your narrative responses to the 4 Guiding Questions for the November Module – Careers and College Majors:

  1. What are the scores from your Interest Profile?
  2. What careers are associated with your profile?
  3. What career are you most interested in and what did you learn from researching this career?
  4. What are the best colleges for your career or college major?

Get a Jump Start on Preparing for the December Discussion Topic: Summer Planning

Lessons Learned

This month, we are reminded of our 2016 newsletter, which provides a context for cohort students who are under the mistaken belief that ‘A’s and B’s’ in rigorous classes are enough to be offered admission to selective colleges ahead of more accomplished ‘A’ students. While cohort students are developing their course schedules, researching colleges and careers, and will be researching summer programs in December, we felt it appropriate to revisit the sound advice that was presented in 2016.

In 2016, an estimated 60,000 students submitted applications for the 1,000 coveted Gates Millennium Scholar scholarships. The chances of being selected as 1 of the 1,000 recipients was 1.66 percent. Students stood a lower chance of being selected as Gates Millennium Scholars than being offered admission to Stanford (5.1%), Harvard (6.0%), Yale (6.3%), or MIT (7.9%) (Top 100 – Lowest Acceptance Rates).

What We Learned

Over the course of the five-year period between 2011-2016, we assisted students in preparing their GMS applications and were gratified with the selection of Brianna Moses (2011) Howard University, Jalani Wynn (2012) Morehouse College, Brittany White (2013) Spelman College, Mikayla Hanna (2015) University of Maryland-Baltimore County, and Rebeca Pacheco (2016) Francis Marion University as Gates Millennium Scholars. For these students, the guidance began long prior to finalizing their GMS applications, with conversations about their course taking, leadership, and service, the cornerstones of our College Planning Cohort Program. 

Course Taking

The GMS application, mirrored many of the component’s of today’s Common Application, by requiring students to enter academic and college prep classes. Students who met the qualifying 3.3 unweighted GPA by earning high grades in on-level classes, found themselves at a huge disadvantage when competing against students who achieved comparable grades through honors, AP, and dual enrollment classes. Students earning high grades in rigorous high school classes, and dual enrollment classes were the most competitive.

The lesson learned was that far too many students focused on class ranking instead of course taking. A student ranked #5 in her class with few honors, AP, or dual enrollment classes was not as competitive as a student ranked #80 in her class, but who took the most rigorous schedule of honors and AP classes offered at her school.

For example, one student’s transcript reflected how she maximized her course taking opportunities:

  • English/Language Arts: 2 honors, 2 AP classes
  • Math: 2 Advanced, Pre-Calculus, AP Calculus
  • Science: 2 honors, 2 AP classes
  • Social Studies: 2 honors, 1 Pre-AP, 3 AP classes
  • Foreign Language: 3 honors, 1 AP classes
  • Fine Arts: Advanced Orchestra, 2 AP classes

Another student’s transcript reflected how she maximized her course taking opportunities:

  • English/Language Arts: 3 honors, 2 college classes
  • Math: 3 honors, 1 AP, 1 college class
  • Social Studies: 2 honors, 1 AP, 2 college classes
  • Foreign Language: 4 honors classes
  • Fine Arts: Choir, Ensemble, 2 college classes

Each of these students maximized the opportunities available to them within their respective high schools, earning A’s in most of their classes. Paulding County High School Salutatorian and cohort alumna, Kimberly Hadaway, entered Paulding County High School in 2013, with a 4-year strategy of being selected as a 2017 Gates Millennium Scholar. Unfortunately, the GMS program was discontinued in 2017. However, Kimberly’s intentional 4-year planning, and academic performance, resulted in 6 full scholarship offers.

Course Alignment

Students are wise to align their high school coursework, whenever possible, with their career aspirations. This is a particularly important consideration when pondering elective classes and the opportunity for strengthening a student’s overall application. When the course taking options are available, high school transcripts should reflect that students interested in pursuing STEM-related careers are taking the highest level of math and science. Too many students claim that they aspire to pursue dentistry, nursing, or pediatrics, while slogging along earning ‘B’s’ in on-level math and science classes. Doing so, will make them less competitive when part of the applicant pool, with similar aspirations, are taking AP Calculus, AP Environmental Science, AP Biology, AP Physics, AP Chemistry, and AP Psychology. Similarly, students pursing careers in art, music, philosophy, or psychology should be taking available classes to demonstrate a commitment to furthering develop their gifts and talents.

The lesson learned is to take the highest level classes available, especially in your desired field of study.

Grades Earned

Perhaps, more than any other part of the GMS application, students regretted not having paid closer attention to their grades. First: many students are not aware of the weighting policy for their high school. For example, is a ’90’ reflected on your transcript, actually an ’83’ artificially raised 7 points because of being an honors or AP class? This would mean that a ’90’ is worth 4 points in calculating a GPA (4-point scale), while the ’83’ is worth 3 points. Since many colleges strip away the additional ‘weight’ added to grades, the goal of every student must be to earn an unweighted ‘A.’ 

To avoid confusion:

  • Focus your attention on the final grade reflected in your teacher’s grading book, not what is reflected on your transcript, unless you attend a school where they are both the same.
  • Fully understand the grading breakdown, i.e., 70 – 79=C; 80 – 89=B; 90-100=A.
  • Know exactly what your grades are for each of your classes.
  • Whenever you find yourself close to the next grade, e.g., 78-79 or 88-89, talk to your teacher to explore options of making up the difference. You never want a ‘B’ when you have the option of earning an ‘A.’

Our mantra is, ‘Don’t leave any points on the table.’ Earn an unweighted ‘100’ and you end up with ‘107.’ However, an ‘A’ is an ‘A.’ 

Foreign Language

Taking the minimum required 2 years of a foreign language put students at a disadvantage when so many of the GMS applicant pool spoke multiple languages. Every immigrant student spoke at least two languages—their native language and English. Students at the top of the bilingual pool of applicants were those who read, spoke, and wrote in multiple languages. 

Students should consider:

  • Achieve fluency in reading, writing, and speaking in your native language. 
  • English-language speakers should be on track to take the highest level of English/Language Arts classes to achieve fluency in reading, writing, and speaking English
  • Spanish-language speakers should be on track to take the highest level of Spanish language classes to achieve fluency in reading, writing, and speaking Spanish

While the same applies to other languages such as German, French, and Chinese, for native language speakers, students should consider pursuing fluency in a second language based on the available conversational usage in their communities. For example, consider the immigrant population in your community and identify a second language offering frequent opportunities for engaging in daily conversational usage.

Writing

The GMS application had 8 essays with 23 imbedded prompts, or questions, to which students had to respond. Unfortunately, far too many high performing high school students are not learning to write effectively. 

The major areas in which students must increase their writing skills over the course of their four years of high school:

  • The ability to effectively respond to writing prompts. For example, a question that asks, “What did you do, why did you do it, and what did you learn?” requires a 3 narratives incorporated into the body of the essay…I did…The reason that I did…What I learned from experiences were…
  • Technical writing skills involve proper grammar and punctuation. Unfortunately, far too many students are failing to develop academic writing skills. In essence, they write like they talk, i.e., informal, frequent use of contractions, and improper use of commas and semicolons.
  • Artistic writing skills involves the ability to use imagery, language, quotes, and poetry to tell your story in a meaning and engaging way.
  • The ability to provide insight for the reader. Students use terms and references without providing insight, background data, or analogies, that provide a context so that readers understand what the student is communicating. For example, a reference to sickle cell anemia, performing in the ensemble, or working in the fields as a migrant farm worker, all require a much descriptive context.

While students must have someone edit their essays, this is not enough. Students must learn how to:

  • Respond to the prompts
  • Reduce or eliminate contractions
  • Understand the difference between talking and academic writing
  • Have a dictionary, Thesaurus, and grammar book within reach (either on the desk or through the Internet)
  • Have examples of well-written essays to which they may refer
  • Research their facts, identify quotes, and research examples
  • Tell a complete story, how they were challenged, how they were supported, what they learned, how they overcome, what they will do differently in the future, how they have used their experiences for the benefit of others

While the focus of an essay is typically what the student has done, readers frequently assess a student’s ability to incorporate non-cognitive variables into the narrative, such as:

  • What are your short- and long-term goals?
  • What is your self-assessment of your gifts, talents, and abilities?
  • Who do you acknowledge as having provided support?
  • How have you demonstrated leadership?
  • What has been your respond to community issues?
  • What have you done in the face of racism, bigotry, or injustice?

Many students struggle with self-reflective narrative writing. The only way to become better writers is to begin writing regularly, 

Leadership

Each year, students come to the realization that they have been involved in many activities, but have served in few leadership roles. While many students ‘join’ things, few students seek to ‘lead’ things. Other students seek to ‘run’ for office, while few such students seek to ‘make a difference’ in office. Perhaps the best example is the U.S. Congress where congressional leaders spend millions of dollars and thousands of hours running campaigns to get elected, then re-elected, and actually do very little while in office. 

Consider the following questions, PRIOR to joining a club, organization, choir, or athletic team:

  • What gifts, talents, or abilities will I contribute?
  • What title or position would I like to earn?
  • What impact would I like to have?
  • What changes would I like to make?
  • What results would I like to achieve?
  • How would I like to be recognized for my contributions?
  • What type of recommendation letter would I like for the coach or club sponsor to be able to write on my behalf?

Students require clear descriptions of their clubs, roles, and involvement. Rather than joining many clubs and organizations, students should consider:

Join the clubs that reflect your passions, aspirations, values, and where you can make a difference:

  • Athletics
  • Fishing
  • Bowling
  • Math
  • Science
  • Skateboarding
  • Art, dance, music, and/or theatre
  • JRTOC
  • Chess
  • Speech and Debate

Determine your passions, gifts, talents, interests, and aspirations. These can become the topics of great essays based on the depth of your involvement, commitment to you make to developing and expanding your skills.

Community Service

Each year, students come to the realization that they have performed very little service to their school or community. They attend church, but do nothing at the church. They are in a club, but do nothing to benefit the community through the club. They are in student government, but have done little to have a positive impact on their school. Far too many students, after nearly four years of high school have been served by the school, but have not been servants to the school.

In the photograph, my older son volunteered hundreds of hours, and was also employed, throughout high school as a Martial Arts Instructor—an activity directly aligned with one of his passions. In the photographed he is pictured holding board for his younger brother. Students who volunteered an hour here or an hour there, cannot compete with students who started a nonprofit and advocated for issues through rallies, newsletters, YouTube Videos, and fundraisers. They cannot compete with those students who tutored students at Boys and Girls Clubs, in elementary schools, middle schools, and throughout their community.

You can perform a community service self-assessment based on your ability to respond to the following prompts:

  • I saw a need in our community of … and I did … which resulted in …
  • In my community, we have a problem with … so I organized … and we … which resulted in …
  • I joined the … so that I could … and learned that … so we … and now our community is …
  • I created a … for the elementary school students in our community who … and I got my teammates to … and afterward we … and we were able to … and now elementary school students in our community are …
  • After I was inducted into the National Honor Society, I recognized a need to … so I became the … and I contacted … to help me get the word out to … and I organized a … and got the … to partner with our organization by … and we were able to … and now our community … and we plan to continue this program each year so that …

One of the best examples we have ever experienced reflected in a student’s essays are those 2016 Gates Millennium Scholar, Rebeca P, now attending Francis Marion University.  Rebeca shared her story as being from of a migrant farm worker family who use her fluency in English and Spanish to serve as a translator and tutor for migrant workers, families in her community, schools in her school district, church, and school-based clubs. She started programs, volunteered hundreds of hours of free tutoring and translation services, and served families in her community and church since becoming bilingual during elementary school.

Mikayla, our 2015 Gates Millennium Scholar, served the elderly in her community by driving them to doctor and dental appointments, assisting with reviewing legal papers, writing letters, balancing budgets, and grocery shopping throughout her four years of high school.

What you can do to prepare yourself for the future

Although the assessments of your academic performance through grades and test scores are important, it is more important that you commit yourself to becoming an actively engaged learner. Commit yourself to learning:

  • How to solve problems
  • How to write
  • How to articulate yourself
  • How to substantiate your opinion with factual evidence
  • How to explain your dreams and aspirations

Read and expand your vocabulary. Many students are literally handcuffed by essays. They cannot formulate their thoughts. They cannot find the vocabulary to articulate their ideas. They cannot engage in the critical thinking process to formulate their opinions. Worksheets and multiple choice tests are dumbing down students to the point where they become angry and frustrated when presented with a sheet of paper and pen, and instructions, “Write.”

Teachers lament that they cannot get students to write…hogwash! We are able to get students to write hundreds of pages of narratives. Most students with whom we assist with their GMS essays, struggle with keeping their word count below the 1,000 word threshold. So we know that the problem is not student motivation. However, our students are so limited in their vocabulary, have such a poor understanding of academic writing, and are lacking in the skills and methods to organize their thoughts that they are frustrated with their inadequacies—inadequacies that should have been corrected over the course of 3 1/2 years of high school writing.

If you are planning to apply for the GMS program or other scholarship programs in the future, begin writing your essays now! You do not become an elite athlete by training occasionally training, nor do you become a good writer by occasionally writing. Athletes train daily, students should be writing daily. The same applies to math. Work through problems every day.

In regard to developing more impressive community service and leadership credentials, students should:

  • Assist club sponsors in developing more thoughtful and comprehensive descriptions of the mission, vision, and core values of their club or organization
  • Expand official roles beyond formal officers, such as Outreach Coordinator, Community Liaison, or new Projects Facilitator
  • Expand award opportunities, such as Most Outstanding Youth Leader, Significant Impact on Community Change, Innovative Future Leader, or Difference Maker
  • Align your club role with your gifts and talents, such as developing logos and brochures for artists, maintaining web pages for techies, publishing newsletters for writers, providing tutoring opportunities for academicians, and providing public speaking opportunities for those who lavish talking

Students cannot only advocate for these opportunities at their high school, but at the faith and community organizations where they commit their volunteer efforts.

Important Dates and Deadlines

Mark Your Calendar

Friday, November 8, 2019: Florence County School District 3 Cohort meeting in the Lake City High School College Corner throughout the day (8:30 am – 4:00 pm). Only students in good standing, and those who have confirmed FAFSA submissions, will be called from class.

Saturday, November 9, 2019:Guilford County Schools Cohort: Seniors (9:00 am – Noon); Juniors (Noon – 3:00 pm). Bring copies of your transcripts and SAT/ACT Score Reports. GTCC Greensboro Campus.

Saturday, November 9, 2019:ASA Guide Right Cohort • Fortis College (9:00 am).

Sunday, November 10, 2019:United Ghana Christian Church Cohort (10:00 am – 12:30 pm).

Sunday, November 10, 2019:Atlanta-area Cohort grades 9 – 12. Turner Chapel AME Church • 492 N. Marietta Pkwy • Marietta, GA (11:30 am – 12:45 pm). Parents are invited to attend the worship service (9:30 am) and high school juniors and seniors are invited to attend The Next Episode (9:30 am – a Teen Bible Study held in the Boardroom).

Sunday, November 10, 2019:Crossroads for Teens Cohort grades 9 – 12. Johnson Ferry Baptist Church • Marietta, GA (3:00 pm – 4:30 pm).

Saturday, November 16, 2019:Pinellas County Schools • Lakewood High School (Media Center) • 1400 54th Ave, S • St. Petersburg, FL (9:00 am – 2:00 pm). All high school students and parents are invited to attend.

All Atlanta-area cohort students are required to attend the College Panel Discussion on Saturday, December 21, 2019 from Noon – 2:00 pm. Students from our Atlanta-area, Turner Chapel AME Church, and Crossroads for Teens Cohorts will be appearing on the panel. Scholarship, Leadership, and Service are the cornerstones of our College Planning Cohort Program. Our panelists are demonstrating scholarship and leadership on their respective campuses, and continue to serve our program through their mentorship and opening doors of opportunities for other cohort students. 

Join a Cohort: Register Now

Our online registration is only open to students interested in joining our Atlanta-area Cohort or working independently through our online classroom. Students participating in a school district or community partner should register with their program facilitator.

New Students who will be joining our Atlanta-area Cohort or participating in our online program, can register at the following links:

To pay your registration in two installments, contact our office: ph: 678.395.5825 or email: cpc@collegeplanningcohort.com
Click here to register for returning students (who participated in our 2018/19 cohort).
Click here to learn more about our cohorts and other programs…

Newsletter: October 1, 2019

October 1, 2019
Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)

Welcome to Our College Planning Cohort Program

We are excited to welcome new students and families to our ASA Guide Right, Atlanta-area, Crossroads for Teens, Florence County School District 3, Guilford County Schools, Pinellas County Schools, Turner Chapel AME Church, and United Ghana Christian Church Cohorts. We are equally excited to be working with students in California, Texas, and Indiana through our online program. Our program is a family affair, where we are working together to assist students in expanding their college and scholarship options.

Congratulations to Sydney and Sydney

Sydney S. and Sydney B. from our Guilford County Schools Cohort continue to receive all-expenses paid Fly-in invitations from some of the country’s most selective colleges:

  • Bowdoin
  • University of Richmond
  • Washington & Lee
  • Williams

Fly-in Programs are highly competitive and require high quality applications and well written essays. Students invited to Fly-in Programs, are in essence, recruited students. Paying travel expenses for 200 students to visit a campus, and hosting them for a weekend, is a significant financial investment. Consequently, receiving a Fly-in invitation can increase a student’s chances of being offered admission to a selective college from less than 20% to over 90%! Sydney S., just visited Bowdoin and Williams, and pictured here is Sydney B., who will be on her way to a Fly-in visit to Washington and Lee. The two Sydneys provide an example for current high school juniors of the importance of identifying and matching to the right Fly-in opportunities, with many applications opening during the spring of your junior year of high school.

High School Seniors

We encourage you to step up your game! Despite our constant prodding, many of you are far behind in finalizing your College Application Plans, choosing your essay topic, writing your essays, requesting recommendation letters from the ‘right’ teachers, and identifying the institutional scholarships for which you are the most competitive. Those of you who have not reached the SAT/ACT scores needed to be offered admission to your colleges, must refocus your attention on either Community College or Test Optional Colleges. It is time to finalize your Action Plans.

Today is the opening of the FAFSA filing period. Most colleges and universities will require that students submit a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) prior to being considered for financial aid, including need-based grants and scholarships. Some schools will begin distributing their FSEOG funding as completed FAFSAs are received, so submit your FAFSA as soon as possible! Mark your calendar for one of our FAFSA sessions in your area. Modules 13 and 14 in the 2019/20 High School Senior Classroom provide complete guidance to completing the FAFSA and CSS/Profile.

Today is the application deadline for the Engineering Fly-in opportunity at the Voices of Tufts Diversity Experience. The Arts and Sciences application deadline is October 8, 2019.

As a Community-based Partner with Smith College, we can provide students interested in applying to Smith College with CSS/Financial Aid Profile fee waivers. The deadlines to apply for financial aid are November 15 for Early Decision I, January 2 for Early Decision II, and January 25 for Regular Decision. If you are planning to apply and would like a CSS/Profile fee waiver, contact us.

To be considered for merit scholarships at Ursinus College, you must apply by their published deadlines.

Join the College Greenlight online Block Party on October 16 and 17, with Stanford, Northwestern, Rice, Tufts, Colgate, and Vanderbilt. Click here to register.

US News profiled 8 students from one of our local high schools (Roswell High School, Roswell, GA) in the article, “How 8 Georgia Students Made Their College Choices.” What most struck me about the article was the college planning components that were not mentioned, i.e., Net Price Calculator, College Match, The Common Data Set, Fly-in Programs, and most importantly, matching to institutional and full scholarship opportunities. However, I was pleased to see that the class valedictorian, Sameer Khan, was offered admission to Amherst College, where our Guilford County Schools Cohort student, Brenna K., is now a 2nd-year, and found his way to Williams College, where our Georgia Cohort students Kimberly H. and Loren T. are now 3rd-year and 2nd-year students respectively. We are going to contact US News and suggest an article, “How 8 College Planning Cohort Students Made Their Way into Full Scholarship Opportunities.” (University of Richmond, Amherst College, Northeastern University, Northwestern University, Claflin Honors College, UMBC, Williams College, and Elon University)

High School Juniors

To better assist you in avoiding the challenges confronting so many of our current high school seniors, who are struggling with finding the time to finalize their College Application Plans, we will be streamlining our modules for high school juniors to provide step-by-step guidance through your college and scholarship research, within the context of the college list and school-year goals that you developed in the October Module, “Setting Goals within a College Context.” The timeline will be focused on finalizing your College Application Plans by June, 2020. If you know any high school juniors who are in need college planning guidance, particularly those who are academically accomplished, encourage them to register as we will no longer be registering high school juniors after November 1. 

FREE College Fair

Plan to attend the 11th Annual Turner Chapel AME Church College Fair on Saturday, October 26, 2019 from Noon – 3:00 pm. I will be kicking off the college fair with a Pre-college Fair Workshop, “Show Me the Money: Scholarships, Financial Aid, and Making the Right College Choice,”from 11:00 am – Noon. Each year, over 2,000 students and parents take advantage of the opportunity to speak with college representatives and college planning advisers. Over 50 colleges will be represented, including Harvard, Duke, MIT, UGA, and many HBCUs. Some schools will offer on-the-spot scholarships so be sure to bring copies of your résumé, transcript, and SAT/ACT Score Reports.

October Discussion Topics

Students in Grades 9 – 11: Please bring copies of your My Narrative Document, Résumé, 4-year High School Schedule, and Common Data Set Table. Be prepared to share your narrative responses to the 4 Guiding Questions for the October Module – Setting Goals Within a College Context:

  1. What type of grades, course taking, and test scores do you believe are expected by the type of colleges to which you would like to apply for admission?
  2. After reviewing the Common Data Set for each of your colleges, how does your planned course schedule compare to the type of classes and level of rigor recommended by each of your colleges?
  3. Are you planning to take the most rigorous classes offered? If yes, why? If no, why not? Are you planning to take electives relating to your gifts and talents, such as music, art, computer programming? If no, why not? What academic honors are you pursuing? 
  4. Which test does your school or school district support?  Will you focus your test taking strategy on the SAT or ACT? What is your test preparation strategy (describe in detail)? 

Thank you to Atlanta-area Cohort Student, Faith K., for her insightful response to the September Guiding Question:

Writing Prompt – Why Am I Here?: Are you intrinsically motivated to be here, or are you here because of a parent, counselor, teacher, coach, or friend? If you have participated in our program previously, why have you returned? What do you want to gain from your involvement in our program, such as expanding your college options; expanding your scholarship options; or taking a more intentional role in guiding your high school journey through activities, leadership, service, or course taking?

“I am intrinsically motivated to be a part of this cohort program because my goal is to go to law school and through this I have to get my undergrad, pass my LSAT, and be offered admission to law school. This may take a total of 7 years and I want to learn the best way to go about this so that I don’t accumulate debt and have to take out a lot of loans. This is my second year participating in the program, and honestly from last year my mom gave me the option to quit and asked if I still wanted to come back this year and I honestly did want to! I am motivated this year to take it seriously and with this program I want to have scholarship options, leadership opportunities, and overall insight for what I can do to make myself a competitive college candidate.” — Faith K., Atlanta-area Cohort

As a high school junior, Faith’s response provides insight into an important consideration that too few students of color are factoring into their college planning—avoiding student loan debt. The Business Insider article, “8 startling facts that show just how hard the student-debt crisis is hurting black Americans,” notes that 86.6% of black students are using student loans to pay for college and that black students attending HBCUs are graduating with 32% more student loan debt than their black peers at PWIs. Perhaps if more school districts adopted Faith’s attitude, “We don’t want our students to accumulate debt and have to take out a lot of loans,” they would be more supportive of our efforts to expose our program to more students.

Get a Jump Start on Preparing for the November Discussion Topics

Grades 9 – 11: Bring copies of your My Narratives and Careers and College Majors documents and be prepared to discuss your narrative responses to the 4 Guiding Questions for the November Module – Careers and College Majors:

  1. What are the scores from your Interest Profile?
  2. What careers are associated with your profile?
  3. What career are you most interested in and what did you learn from researching this career?
  4. What are the best colleges for your career or college major?

Get Your Questions Answered

As our program expands, we rely on cohort facilitators from our partners to respond to student questions during monthly meetings and in their round table discussions. However, questions may be submitted to us under the following guidelines:

  • Questions should be emailed, by registered students, to cpc@collegeplanningcohort.com.
  • The subject line should identify the online class, module, and unit: “Question: 9-10 Grade: Module 1: Unit 2.”
  • The body of the email should contain your question: “I do not fully understand the differences between AP and dual enrollment classes.”
  • The email must contain the student’s email signature.
  • Students in grades 9 – 11: Questions must pertain to currently assigned units.
  • Seniors: Questions may pertain to any module or unit.
  • Questions must be submitted by the 21st of the month.
  • We will respond by the last day of the month to the entire classroom.

For example, if a student in our 9th-10th grade program, raises a question, we will summarize our responses to all questions presented by students in our 9th-10th program during October and send an email to all registered 9th-10th graders by the final day of October.

Important Dates and Deadlines

Mark Your Calendar

Friday, October 4, 2019: Florence County School District 3 Cohort meeting in the Lake City High School College Corner throughout the day (8:30 am – 4:00 pm).

Saturday, October 5, 2019:Florence County School District 3 • FAFSA Completion in the School Board Room at the School District Offices (9:30 am – 4:00 pm). All seniors and parents are invited to attend.

Sunday, October 5, 2019:United Ghana Christian Church Cohort (10:00 am – 12:30 pm).

Saturday, October 12, 2019:Pinellas County Schools FAFSA Completion • Lakewood High School (Media Center) • 1400 54th Ave, S • St. Petersburg, FL (9:00 am – 2:00 pm). All high school students and parents are invited to attend.

Sunday, October 13, 2019:Atlanta-area Cohort grades 9 – 12. Turner Chapel AME Church • 492 N. Marietta Pkwy • Marietta, GA (11:30 am – 12:45 pm). Parents are invited to attend the worship service (9:30 am) and high school juniors and seniors are invited to attend The Next Episode (9:30 am – a Teen Bible Study held in the Boardroom).

Sunday, October 13, 2019:Crossroads for Teens Cohort  grades 9 – 12. Johnson Ferry Baptist Church • Marietta, GA (3:00 pm – 4:30 pm).

Saturday, October 19, 2019:Guilford County Schools Cohort: Seniors (9:00 am – Noon); Juniors (Noon – 3:00 pm). Bring copies of students’ transcripts and SAT/ACT Score Reports. GTCC Greensboro Campus.

Saturday, October 19, 2019:ASA Guide Right Cohort • Fortis College (9:00 am).

Saturday, October 26, 2019: 10th Annual FREE Turner Chapel AME Church College Fair will host over 50 colleges, community organizations, fraternities, sororities, and workshops. (Noon – 3:00 pm). Mychal Wynn will present a Pre-college Fair Workshop from 10:30 am – Noon on issues raised in, “Show Me the Money: Scholarships, Financial Aid, and Making the Right College Choice.”
Join a Cohort: Register Now

Our online registration is only open to students interested in joining our Atlanta-area Cohort or working independently through our online classroom. Students participating in a school district or community partner should register with their program facilitator.

New Students who will be joining our Atlanta-area Cohort or participating in our online program, can register at the following links:

To pay your registration in two installments, contact our office: ph: 678.395.5825 or email: cpc@collegeplanningcohort.com

Click here to register for returning students (who participated in our 2018/19 cohort).

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

Newsletter: September 1, 2019

September 1, 2019
Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)

Welcome to our 2019/20 College Planning Cohort Program!

We had a great information session with students and parents from our partnership with the Alpharetta-Smyrna Alumni Chapter of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., ASA Guide Right Program (pictured below with Doug Lucas, ASA Guide Right Cohort Director). We were excited to introduce the many changes to our program and examples of the great student outcomes we can achieve through a strong collaboration. We are also grateful to Eric Nelums, a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., and Turner Chapel AME Church, who has agreed to photograph and videotape our Atlanta-area Cohort meetings to assist us in developing a Cohort Facilitator Training Curriculum.

High School Seniors

We are excited to extend our support of high school seniors with our 2019/20 High School Senior Online Activities, providing comprehensive guidance through the college admissions, financial aid, and enrollment processes. After each registered senior completes the pre-registration activities on our New Student webpage, we will provide students with a College Planning Assessment and Recommendation Action Plan.

High School Students in Grades 9 – 11

What are your college/career aspirations? What are your family’s financial needs? Answering these questions is at the heart of our 2019/20 College Planning Program for high school students in grades 9 – 11. The activities and monthly round table discussions will be focused on developing the strongest possible, “Body of Work.” Students will be guided in grade level appropriate conversations (9th-10th and 11th Grade) into a deeper understanding of the importance of pursuing, “Exceptionality” in their gifts, talents, and academic focus as they are guided in aligning their classes, grades, test scores, activities, leadership, and service with their college aspirations, and family’s financial needs. High school juniors will receive a College Planning Assessment and Recommendation Action Plan at the end of the first semester.

Guiding Questions

At the core of our 2019/20 College Planning Program are ‘Guiding Questions’—questions which provide a context for round table discussions at our meetings and conversations between students and parents at home. Activities will be introduced 6 weeks in advance to allow students time to prepare for our monthly meetings. Atlanta-area Cohort students who complete all activities, attend all meetings, and submit a year-end action plan will receive a 2020 Cohort Kente Cloth in recognition of their participation in our program.

Materials

Students will be receiving books and materials from their cohort facilitators. Students in our Atlanta-area cohort will receive their books, binders, t-shirts, and backpacks at our September meeting. All students will be working from the text, “A High School Plan for Students with College-Bound Dreams: Third Edition.” High school seniors will also be receiving the text, “Show Me the Money: A Comprehensive Guide to Scholarships, Financial Aid, and Making the Right College Choice” later during the first semester.

New Student Pre-registration Activities

All newly registered and returning students must complete the 3 pre-registration activities on our New Student webpage. Students must submit fully completed profile forms and résumés prior to being issued login credentials.

September Activities for Grades 9 – 11

After receiving your username and password, log in to the 2019/20 9th-11th Grade Classroom and complete all of the units in ‘Module 1: Welcome.’ Be prepared to discuss your response to the question, “Why Am I Here?” at the September meeting.

October Activities for Grades 9 – 11

Complete ‘Module 2: Setting Goals Within a College Context’ and be prepared to discuss your answers to the Guiding Questions at the October meeting.

Get Your Questions Answered

As our program expands, we rely on cohort facilitators from our partners to respond to student questions during monthly meetings and in their round table discussions. However, questions may be submitted to us under the following guidelines:

  • Questions should be emailed, by registered students, to cpc@collegeplanningcohort.com.
  • The subject line should identify the online class, module, and unit: “Question: 9-10 Grade: Module 1: Unit 2.”
  • The body of the email should contain your question: “I do not fully understand the differences between AP and dual enrollment classes.”
  • The email must contain the student’s email signature.
  • Students in grades 9 – 11: Questions must pertain to currently assigned units.
  • Seniors: Questions may pertain to any module or unit.
  • Questions must be submitted by the 21st of the month.
  • We will respond by the last day of the month to the entire classroom.

For example, if a student in our 9th-10th grade program, raises a question, we will summarize our responses to all questions presented by students in our 9th-10th program during September and send an email to all registered 9th-10th graders by the final day of September.

High School Seniors

Complete the the New Student pre-registration activities so that you may receive your login credentials. There is much work to be done!

Important Dates and Deadlines

Fly-in Opportunities

For those seniors who do not know the impact that being invited to a Fly-in/Diversity Weekend can have on their college admission chances, or for those cohort students who forgot what they learned in the ‘Fly-in/Diversity Weekends’ lesson as a junior, the following Fly-in opportunities are still open:

Congratulations to Sydney, a high school senior from our Guilford County Schools Cohort, who has been invited to the Fly-in Programs at Bowdoin at Williams. Sydney has embraced our program since entering high school, been intentional in pursuing her goals, and has developed an extraordinary body of work, including a #1 Class Ranking. We are confident that we will be reporting Sydney’s extraordinary college options in April, 2020.

Congratulations

Last month, we reported that Nina Shack from our 2019 Turner Chapel AME Church Cohort, was a participant in the Tuskegee Next Aviation Program. We are pleased to congratulate Nina on receiving her private pilot’s license and drone certification (pictured in the first roll, 4th from right! See the Good Morning America interview. 

 

Aleah, from our 2018 Guilford County Schools Cohort has checked in, “I am happy to report that I have been admitted to the third cohort of GAP students at Winston-Salem State’s upper division of nursing.”

Darius, from our 2018 Guilford County Schools Cohort has checked in, “Hello Mrs. Wynn, I wanted to share my first East Carolina bulletin of the year as an RA. Remember our conversations about strategies to avoid student loan debt? Well, I have followed your advice and become an RA! In addition to my state scholarship, I now have my meal plan and housing paid for. Now I don’t have to take out loans or pay out of pocket. Thank you so much for the continuous support and I will keep you updated.”

Morgan, from our 2017 Turner Chapel AME Cohort has checked in, “Hello Mrs. Wynn, I’m still loving Pitt and excited to go back! My major is Economics and my minor is Administration of Justice and I plan to attend law school as soon as I graduate. If I don’t attend law school I’m going to get my Master’s in Economics and branch off from there. I’m also thinking about studying abroad this Spring in Madrid, Spain since I am still taking Spanish classes. Last year I joined the Ultimate Frisbee team, so I get to travel to other states and play against other college teams. On top of that I’m in other clubs which allows me to keep up socially!”

Peyton, from our 2018 Turner Chapel AME Cohort has earned her way into a full scholarship! Peyton, a Posse Scholar (full tuition), has been selected as a George Washington University Resident Adviser (room and board). Peyton is actively involved at George Washington and invites you to read her blog, Words by Peyton.

Summer, from our 2018 Turner Chapel AME Cohort has checked in, “I am absolutely in love with UGA…however, I have switched from Genetics Pre-Med to Genetics Pre-Dental…completing a dental internship this summer has really shown me that dentistry is my passion. Freshman year, I involved myself in a variety of orgs including the Black Affairs Council (I was on the freshman advisory board), minority science student association, and girls in healthcare…this upcoming year I am the programming chair of the Black Affairs Council and Co-Secretary of Girls in Healthcare. Freshman year I also had the chance to go on a mission trip and I plan on engaging in this opportunity annually.”

Congratulations to Turner Chapel AME Cohort student, Nalah Tann-Wilson, who received the Les Dames d’Escoffier Scholarship, valued at $31,493. Nalah will be attending Johnson and Wales University where she will be pursuing a degree in Baking and Pastry Arts.

Mark Your Calendar

Sunday, September 1, 2019: Turner Chapel AME Church deadline for submitting report cards. Full year report cards required for consideration for 2019 Marcus Awards.

Sunday, September 1, 2019: Mr. and Mrs. Wynn will speak to students and parents at the United Ghana Christian Church Cohort at 10:30 am. 

Sunday, September 8, 2019: Atlanta-area Cohort kickoff meeting for grades 9 – 11 will provide an overview of changes to our 2019/20 program; round table discussions with high school seniors; and a meet and greet opportunity for students and parents in grades 9 – 11. TCC ‘The Next Episode’ Ministry Leaders, Charles and Lora Williams, will lead our round table discussions for grades 9 – 11. Mr. and Mrs. Wynn will lead the round table discussions with seniors and their parents. All registered students will receive their books, backpacks, binders, and t-shirts. Please bring copies of your high school transcripts and SAT/ACT Score Reports. Turner Chapel AME Church, Room 187 (11:30 am – 12:45 pm). Atlanta-area cohort juniors and seniors are invited to attend The Next Episode, a teen Bible Study and College Planning Session, from 9:30 am – 11:30 am in the Boardroom.

Sunday, September 8, 2019: Crossroads for Teens kickoff meeting. Johnson Ferry Baptist Church (3:00 pm – 4:30 pm).

Saturday, September 14, 2019: ASA Guide Right Cohort will meet at Fortis College (9:00 am).

Friday, September 20, 2019: Florence County School District 3 Cohort meeting in the Lake City High School College Corner throughout the day (8:30 am – 4:00 pm).

Saturday, September 21, 2019: Guilford County School: Seniors (9:00 am – Noon); Juniors (Noon – 3:00 pm). Parents should plan to attend. Bring copies of students’ transcripts and SAT/ACT Score Reports. GTCC Greensboro Campus

Sunday, September 22, 2019: Turner Chapel AME Church Academic Celebration.

Saturday, September 28, 2019: ASA Guide Right Cohort will meet at Fortis College (9:00 am).

Saturday, October 26, 2019: 10th Annual FREE Turner Chapel AME Church College Fair will host over 50 colleges, community organizations, fraternities, sororities, and workshops. (Noon – 3:00 pm). Mychal Wynn will present a Pre-college Fair Workshop from 10:30 am – Noon on issues raised in, “Show Me the Money: Scholarships, Financial Aid, and Making the Right College Choice.”

Join a Cohort: Register Now

Our online registration is only open to students interested in joining our Atlanta-area Cohort or working independently through our online classroom. Students participating in a school district or community partner should register with their program facilitator.

New Students who will be joining our Atlanta-area Cohort or participating in our online program, can register at the following links:

To pay your registration in two installments, contact our office: ph: 678.395.5825 or email: cpc@collegeplanningcohort.com

Click here to register for returning students (who participated in our 2018/19 cohort).

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

RaiseMe

I met representatives from RaiseMe at a recent conference for college admissions professionals held in Salt Lake City. The idea of being connected with colleges that recognize and reward your academic performance, leadership, and service is a good thing. However, prior to setting up a RaiseMe account and logging all of your achievements into your profile throughout high school, you may want to consider what has been written about the program and concept.

Raise.me is opaque in ways that invite skepticism. Start with the name — Raise.me. I know of no other domain name ending in “.me.” Is Raise.me profit or not for profit? Did they cleverly avoid .com identification with the .me designation?

The background story suggests someone is in it for the money. According to a Wall Street Journal report, Raise.me is also known as Raise Labs, Inc., a privately held company financed primarily by venture capitalists. Venture capitalism is not inherently evil, but venture capitalism is surely not charitable. Raise.me seems to be a very sophisticated “cause-related” business, seeking to capitalize on student and family anxiety, concerns about higher education costs, and colleges’ hopes to capture more student interest at an earlier point in their academic lives. (Nelson 2/23/16)

In the almost three years since the service launched, 700,000 high schoolers have signed up. The company says 45% of its users are the first in their family to go to college, and 40% come from a low-income background. These students often don’t have the same access as their wealthier peers to guidance about the variety of colleges and financial aid opportunities— but both Raise.me and its college partners say the service is trying to close that gap. (Mulhere 6/2/17)

Our analysis is that if you are a good student, who is intentional in earning good grades, assuming leadership roles, and performing community service, you will have many need- or merit-based scholarship opportunities at a broad range of colleges. You may identify some of those colleges as RaiseMe partner schools, or you may identify such schools through your own research. 

Student Loan Providers

Student Loan Debt

Each year, we receive so many inquiries from students who are unable to close the financial aid gap with federal student loans offered by their college and need to identify private sources of student loans to close the gap. While we advise students to seriously consider their college choice in light of their financial aid gap, we have developed this posting to some of the private student loan providers for students who remain committed to their current college choice, not matter the cost.

We are providing a reprint of Mark P. Cussen’s posting of “Top Student Loan Providers.” We are not providing an endorsement of any of the student loan providers listed on this page. We advise students to carefully and thoughtfully research each student loan provider; understand the terms and costs associated with each loan; and whether their loans can be forgiven or if they are entitled to any discounts or rebates.

Before you borrow, read these important reports:

Top Student Loan Providers

By Mark P. Cussen, CFP®, CMFC, AFC | Updated June 20, 2018 — 3:15 PM EDT

Many students who borrow to pay for college make their way into the real world after graduation worried about being able to pay off their education loans. One of the best ways students and parents can minimize their loan obligations is to shop around for the best providers before they borrow. Although there is no definitive list of best loan providers, this article shows you those that have received accolades from consumers and financial-aid websites.

Where to Get Student Loans for College

The Federal Government

Any list of top student loan providers has to begin with Uncle Sam. Federally-subsidized student loans are often the cheapest – and in many cases, the only – alternative for lower or middle-income students and families who need to pay for college.

Pell Grants and subsidized loans offer rates and repayment terms that are typically far superior to anything found in the private sector, including deferment, forbearance and loan forgiveness programs.

For more information on federal student loan programs, visit www.studentloans.gov. The site is loaded with information and resources, such as how to obtain aid, and a calculator for estimating loan repayment.

Sallie Mae

At first, Sallie Mae (SLM) was a government-sponsored enterprise, but now operates as a publicly-traded corporation. Sallie Mae primarily offers private student loans for undergrads, graduates and parents. In 2004, it spun off a new company named Navient (NAVI) to handle the servicing of government-backed loans.  They even offer family education loans for expenses associated with private school costs from kindergarten through high school.

Its website offers information, products, and tools on saving, planning, and paying for college. Sallie Mae has been rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau, as well.

Nelnet

This provider is geared toward private loans for college students and tuition payment plans for thousands of K-12 schools. Nelnet (NNI) offers customers educational services in loan servicing, payment processing, education planning, and asset management. Their website is loaded with tools and resources that help borrowers determine where they are financially and how to choose the best loan.

Some of their available tools include budget sheets, guidance on how to prevent identity theft and education on general money management. It also provides answers to a comprehensive list of FAQs and offers both email and telephone customer service support. 

StudentLoan.com

StudentLoan.com differs from Sallie Mae in that it is owned and operated by Discover Bank (DFS). It was previously owned by Citibank until 2010. Student loans are just one of the many financial products and services offered by this company best known for issuing consumer credit cards. There are no loan application, origination or late fees required.

The site offers comprehensive educational tools, articles and calculators for students and parents, and it provides a variety of payment options. One advantage offered by Discover Student Loans is that school-certified college costs up to 100% can be covered. They also offer loan consolidation.

Citizens Bank

Although it does not have a standalone website devoted to student loans, Citizens Bank’s (CFG) student loan webpage easily allows you to apply for a student loan. They offer private loans for students and parents at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. There are a variety of payment options available and customers who also open a student checking account can get a rate discount on their student loan. 

Social Finance (SoFi) 

This unique company provides younger borrowers who lack the financial credentials typically required by banks and other traditional lenders with a viable alternative for their student loans. SoFi was the first to refinance both federal and private loans, and its underwriters consider such non-standard factors as professional merit and work history in addition to the borrower’s credit profile. Fixed and variable rate notes are available in multiple terms with no origination or application fees, and no prepayment penalties. 

LendKey 

This consolidation provider was created when hundreds of nonprofit credit unions united to establish this site. LendKey provides loans for undergrads, consolidations for college graduates, and refinancings of parent PLUS loans. Borrowers need to be members of a credit union in order to be eligible for services. LendKey offers some of the lowest student loan rates available. 

CommonBond

Founded in 2011, CommonBond is a lender that offers refinancing of graduate and undergraduate student loans. They also offer private student loans for undergraduates and non-MBA graduate students.

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo (WFC) provides undergraduate, graduate, and consolidation services for private student loans while offering both fixed- and variable-rate loans. They award discounts for various incentives, such as graduation or opening another account with the bank.

SimpleTuition

This site, by Lending Tree offers access to a pool of consolidation lenders. Borrowers can compare rate estimates among lenders without having each of them pull their credit information. However, borrowers will have to submit to a credit check in order to be approved. 

SimpleTuition offers tips, tools and deals to help students plan for the costs of college, and how they manage their student loans.

Cedar Education Lending

Although Cedar Education Lending offers student loans and consolidation loans, borrowers with very high loan balances or loans that charge high rates of interest may find a better alternative on this site. This site also offers loan consolidation that could result in longer repayment periods, and lower monthly payments, a wise move for borrowers whose earnings are expected to be low when they first get out of school.

SunTrust

SunTrust (STI) charges no origination, application, or prepayment fees and student loan borrowers can qualify for rate reductions and cosigner release options if they demonstrate financial responsibility. Prospective borrowers can apply for and compare fixed and variable rate loans online. It no longer offers a loan-consolidation program.

Student Loan Network

This group allows borrowers to compare lenders and also consolidate loans on its website. Borrowers can consolidate both private and governmental loans on the Student Loan Network, and gain access to educational materials about student loans and tips on how borrowers can avoid defaulting on them.

The Bottom Line

Students and parents who need financial assistance now have more options than ever before. Banks, credit unions and other lenders offer a vast array of loans and scholarships that can help to finance education costs in an affordable manner. For additional information on student loans, contact your school’s financial aid officer or a financial advisor.

Read more: Top Student Loan Providers | Investopedia https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/082314/top-student-loan-providers.asp#ixzz5OMeSzdZE 

Follow us: Investopedia on Facebook

 

 

Constitutional Academy

Our annual summer program brings together high school students from across the country to Washington, D.C. for a week of deep discussions on critical issues and interaction with scholars, policy-makers, and national thought leaders. Participants also make new friends, tour the monuments and museums, and connect with professionals throughout the D.C. area.

Click here to apply…

Young Leaders Summit (YLS)


High school applicants (Class of 2019):

CLICK HERE for frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the Young Leaders Summit

Volunteer staff applicants:
CLICK HERE for frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the Young Leaders Summit volunteer role opportunities

 

DESCRIPTION

The Young Leaders Summit (YLS) is a free four-day, overnight, college empowerment conference for a diverse cohort of low-income high school juniors, selected through a competitive application process. It is designed to give these young leaders the practical tools they need to successfully apply to top universities, have full access to scholarship and financial aid opportunities, and set a course for academic and career success.


DATE AND LOCATION

  • August 9th – August 12th at The University of Chicago

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

  • Current high school junior, Class of 2019 (senior in the fall of 2018-2019 academic year)
  • 3.0 GPA or above on a 4.0 scale, or equivalent based on your school scale
  • Low income, as defined by Pell eligibility
  • Currently attends high school in the United States or a U.S. territory
  • Plans to enroll full-time, in a four-year degree program, at a U.S. accredited, not-for-profit, private or public college or university after high school graduation

AN IDEAL CANDIDATE WILL HAVE:

  • An outstanding academic record in high school (in the top 20% of graduating class)
  • Demonstrated leadership ability (as shown through participation in community service, extracurricular, or other activities)

HOW TO APPLY:

  • Create a Profile as a “Student”
  • View “YLS Student Application 2018” Application on your Dashboard

YLS VOLUNTEER STAFF OPPORTUNITIES

Current college undergraduate student, join Young Leaders Summit (YLS) volunteer staff!

2018 YLS Dates and Locations:

  • August 8th – August 12th at The University of Chicago (includes mandatory orientation day).

Apply for one of the following Volunteer YLS Staff positions:

Support Crew

Current freshmen in college who support all logistical components of the program. Responsibilities include but are not limited to: preparing and assisting with YLS session set up and execution; transporting, setting up, and breaking down signage and materials; and escorting students, speakers, and volunteers to assigned areas.

Support Crew applicants must pass a background check, and remain on campus for the entire YLS program, including orientation.

Summit Counselors (SCs)

Current college undergraduates responsible for serving as a mentor, supervising and leading their “squad”—a group of 7-8 YLS high school participants- throughout the course of the YLS. SCs serve as the point of contact for their students in the weeks leading up to, furing, and following the YLS program. SCs are responsible for facilitating workshop transitions, leading nightly debriefs with their YLS squad, and assisting with YLS sessions, as needed.

Summit Counselor applicants must pass a background check, and remain on campus for the entire YLS program, including orientation.

Program Leads (PLs)

Current college juniors or seniors who serve as the head coordinators for each YLS program, and as the point-of-contact for the Summit Counselors in the weeks leading up to and throughout the course of the program. The PLs work with YLS professional staff to train SCs and facilitate communication between YLS professional staff and the SCs. Program Leads are responsible for assisting with YLS sessions, reviewing daily schedules and room assignments, leading workshop transitions, facilitating nightly meetings with the SCs and YLS professional staff, and serving as on-site/overnight contact.

PLs must pass a background check, and remain on campus for the entire YLS program, including orientation.

Please Note:  These are unpaid volunteer opportunities. YLC will cover the full cost of food, room and board throughout the conference, including orientation. There are limited available funds to cover travel for staff members to and from the host university, and will be considered on a case by case basis.

 

KidGuard For Education Scholarship

ELIGIBILITY: All grades 9 – 12 High School Students

AWARD AMOUNT: Multiple scholarships ranging from $500 to $1000

DEADLINE: Ongoing (Annual) , Every October 31st 11:59 PM (Pacific Time)

HOW TO APPLY:

Choose ONE prompt from below and submit a well thought out essay or video

  1. How have your family, parents, school, and teachers influenced who you are today? Use personal experiences to support your answer.
  2. How much freedom should parents give their children? Use personal experiences to support your answer.
  3. What are some dangers that youth may face on the internet? Use personal experiences, news articles, or research to support your answer.
  4. What should you do if you or a friend is bullied on the web? Please discuss solutions for both scenarios. Use personal experiences to support your answer.
  5. Discuss ways that youth can use the internet or social media to positively impact their communities. Use personal experiences to support your answer.

To apply, fill out our short form here: KidGuard for Education Scholarship Application

SELECTION PROCESS:

We will be selecting a pool of finalists based on the quality of their essay/video. As mentioned, we are looking for essays/videos that are well thought out with proper research and evidence to support their statement. Out of the selected finalists, winners will be selected and contacted shortly thereafter.

* We want to hear your honest opinion. The personal opinion expressed in your essay/video will in no way affect whether or not you are awarded the scholarship. We respect that everyone has their own opinions on the topic and want to hear what you have to say. For essays, we want to stress that word count is not a deciding factor in this contest. However, this is a contest and you are expected to express your well-thought-out ideas clearly, supported with research and evidence.

 

Welsh & Welsh Law Firm Scholarship

Welsh & Welsh, a personal injury firm in Omaha, Nebraska, is pleased to announce that we are offering a once-yearly $1,000 scholarship to students who are currently attending or planning to attend their first year of college or graduate school in the upcoming semester. We understand the difficulties college students face financially and feel that by providing students with this opportunity, we can help them pave the way towards a brighter future.

We first started the scholarship in Fall 2017 and were humbled by its success. We’ve decided to continue it for 2018 and beyond.

The current open submission period is for Fall 2018.
Applications are due by Sunday, July 15, 2018.

The next open submission period will be for Fall 2019.

To apply, you’ll need to submit a 500+ word essay on the topic below as well as provide some additional information.

Scholarship Guidelines

  • Students can be attending or planning to attend any college or graduate school in the U.S.
  • Applicants must be attending or plan on attending for their first year.
  • As proof of your first-year status, you will need to submit a digital copy of your acceptance letter—complete with the college letterhead.

Essay Topic

Applicants will need to write a 500+ word essay on the following topic:

 

Why is prioritizing roadway and driver safety so vital?

 

Once the application period closes, Welsh & Welsh will choose a winner based on the uniqueness of each essay as well as the writer’s knowledge in the topic. Creativity and unique ideas give points here.

By submitting your essay to us, you agree that your essay may be featured on our blog. We will publish the winning essay as well as 1-2 of the top contenders at our discretion. Published essays may appear with minor edits in place.

Application Instructions

  1. To submit your application, email us your completed essay, a digital copy of the acceptance letter from the college or graduate school verifying your first-year status, and some brief information about yourself to welshandwelshne@gmail.com.
  2. In the body of your email, you MUST include your name, address, phone number, and the name of your current/planned school. You may include a brief paragraph telling us about yourself and your career-related goals, but this part should be brief.
  3. The essay MUST be attached as either a .DOCX or .PDF. You MUST follow MLA guidelines when formatting your essay.
  4. The email’s subject line MUST READ: “NAME Fall 2018 Scholarship”

Failing to follow the above instructions may disqualify your application.

Send all applications and questions to welshandwelshne@gmail.com.

We look forward to looking at your applications!

List of Past Winners

Fall 2017: Nicole Quezada of California – Read Nicole’s essay
Spring 2018: Tristen Sharp of Bonnie, Illinois – Read Tristen’s essay
Fall 2018: