Applying to College

Student Focus—GPA or Friends?

In my book, Empowering African American Males: A Guide to Increasing Black Male Achievement, I recount an encounter with my then ten-year-old son:

“Dad, I don’t want to be in Target [the talented and gifted program] this year. Since I’m going to be playing football, I believe it’s just going to be too much work for me. Maybe I’ll go back to Target next year.”

In response to my son, I said, “Jalani, I can understand how demanding it can be to attempt to balance your school work with the mental and physical demands of playing a sport. However, you are such an intelligent young man, I know you can balance both of them if you put forth the necessary effort. However,  your mother and I do not want to over burden you , so if you are sure that you cannot handle it. WE WILL HAVE TO TAKE YOU OUT OF FOOTBALL!”

My son stared at me in disbelief (this was not exactly the answer he was expecting) and responded: “That’s alright, Dad, I think I can handle it.”

I long understood the negative social acceptance among peers and sense of social isolation experienced by Black students when enrolled in gifted programs and advanced classes and when they are high academic achievers. A study by researchers from the University of Michigan and Boston University provides greater insight into the social costs of school success for Black students:

“The negative social consequences of getting good grades were particularly pronounced for black and Native American students in high-achieving schools with small proportions of students similar to themselves.”

Some of the additional findings were:

  • For whites, the link between GPA and social acceptance was strongly positive over time—the better their GPA, the more likely that students were to feel accepted and the less likely to report feeling lonely
  • For black and Native Americans, the relationship between GPA and social acceptance was reversed: the higher their GPA, the lonelier they were likely to report feeling, and the more they were likely to report that others had been unfriendly or disliked them
  • While Hispanics overall displayed a patter similar to whites and Asians, students of Mexican descent showed patterns similar to blacks

The researchers go on to note:

“This analysis did not identify reasons for racial and ethnic differences in relation between school achievement and a sense of social acceptance, but it does strongly suggest that racial dynamics within schools are having an important influence on students’ lives and should not be ignored. In fact, these dynamics are likely to be an important mechanism behind racial/ethnic gaps in achievement.”

As a result of the gentle nudging by my wife and me, continued high expectations and our understanding the peer pressure our son was experiencing, we were able to ensure that our son continue his course of high academic achievement. The results were our son’s acceptance into the Honors College at Morehouse College and his receiving the Gates Millennium Scholarship.

Parents and schools must do more to assist students in understanding the potential long-term consequences of the choices they make, i.e., “Is social acceptance today more important than hundreds of thousands of dollars toward my future college education based on my grades and test scores?” Even if students cannot fully appreciate the potential long-term consequences, it is a conversation that we must have as we encourage them to set new standards of academic achievement where it is cool to have a high GPA, cool to earn thousands of dollars in scholarships, and cool to achieve grades and test scores on a comparable level as other students!

Parent Involvement is the Clearest Predictor of College Access

The Texas Comprehensive CenterBriefing Paper on Parent and Community Involvement in a College/Career-Ready Culturenotes:

“The literature on parent and community involvement is extensive. However, there is little rigorous, experimental research; rather, the literature consists primarily of descriptive case studies or correlation studies, along with numerous studies involving survey data. The same holds true for research around development of career and college readiness. Furthermore, there is very little to be found on the combined topics of parent/community involvement, college/career readiness, and student achievement.”

Some of the key findings of available research indicate that students with involved parents, no matter what their income or background, are more likely to:

  • Earn high grades and test scores and enroll in higher-level programs
  • Pass their classes, earn credits, and be promoted
  • Attend school regularly
  • Graduate and go on to postsecondary education
  • Although parental involvement is important through all the years of school, it changes as children develop; therefore, a student in middle or high school benefits from a different type of parental involvement than does an elementary school student
  • the most consistent finding in studies of parental involvement was “the importance of parents’ educational aspirations for their children”

Similar research findings are reported in, Succeeding in the City: A Report from the New York City Black and Latino Male High School Achievement Study, where young men of color note the importance of parent expectations pertaining to their academic achievement:

  • High expectations for school success were conveyed in myriad ways. Most common was parents’ dissatisfaction with grades they believed were unreflective of their children’s full potential.
  • In several interviews, young men recalled how they felt good about earning 90% on tests, but their parents’ reaction was “why didn’t you get a hundred?”
  • Some had proven their academic aptitude in elementary school, but their grades declined in middle school. Their parents refused to excuse this change and instead nagged the teens, found ways to get them tutor-ing and other forms of academic support, and punished them by taking away privileges they had come to enjoy.
  • One young man recalled a pivotal moment in his academic trajectory. He started getting 70s and 80s on report cards, instead of the 90s he had consistently earned prior to middle school. His dad took him on a long car ride outside of the city to express two things: (1) how he believed the young man was capable of doing better; and (2) why B’s and C’s were unacceptable. Concerning the second point, the father told his son that he expected him to be someone great in life, to go to college; accordingly, mediocre grades would not get him there. That car ride resonated with this young man from that point onward.
  • Others remembered specific things family members and others said to them at various junctures in their educational trajectories that helped them realize how great they were destined to be.

Despite these two research studies profiling students and parents in two different states (Texas and New York), parent expectations is an important component in the academic outcomes of their children. It is clear that parents should engage in:

  • Communicating expectations for achievement and value for education
  • Fostering educational and occupational aspirations
  • Discussing learning strategies
  • Preparing and planning for the future

To best ensure a successful transition to college or a career parents should:

  • Know about college admission or career requirements so that they may appropriately guide their children’s courses and activities
  • Understand student assessments that will allow them to track progress toward meeting the requirements
  • Understand financial aid options
  • Understand the application process

Cultivating home-school partnerships requires that educators understand that the lack of parental involvement of African-American, Hispanic, and low-income parents is not so much attributable to shortcomings of parents themselves as they are to structures and policies, which create invisible walls and inhibit interaction with schools such as:

  • Inflexible work schedules
  • Language barriers
  • Lack of comfort with school staff
  • Conditioned mistrust

Overcoming these barriers requires:

  • Obtaining input from families regarding information and resources they need to support their children’s college aspirations
  • Familiarizing families with services that provide academic support and college planning and provide these services in a family-friendly environment
  • Ensuring that families from all cultural, social, linguistic, and community backgrounds are included in outreach efforts
  • Partnering with faith-based, community organizations, and institutions of higher education to provide college planning and financial aid information

Research indicates that for low-income families, information on financial aid is extremely important, and parents need the information early in their child’s education so they can build and reinforce his or her aspirations to attend college.

Succeeding in the City: A Report from the New York City Black and Latino Male High School Achievement Study, notes that even schools that successfully cultivate college-bound cultures can lack sufficient insight and understanding of the full range of needs of students who will be the first in their families to attend college or who are living in high poverty communities:

  • “This is like a small college,” one young man said of his high school. Others described college-going cultures that had been fostered in their respective buildings.
  • There were poster-sized spreadsheets on a bulletin board in the guidance counselor’s office at East Bronx Academy for the Future that listed each graduating senior’s name in one column.
  • Other columns were used to track whether students had taken the SAT; applied to CUNY, SUNY, and other postsecondary institutions; submitted the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), as well as applications for scholarships and other forms of financial aid (e.g., New York State’s Tuition Assistance Program); and had been accepted to college.
  • Students received big checkmarks in each column after one of these college-related activities had been completed. Fascinating to us was that almost every student listed on the spreadsheet had a near-complete row of checkmarks next to her or his name.
  • We also thought compelling that the spread-sheet was so large and so public. The guidance counselor explained that teachers, parents, and peers often interact with the bulletin board; if they see that a student has not done something on the list, they would ask (and some-times harass) her or him about it.
  • In that same office was another bulletin board that included college-related terms and their definitions. Students who would be first in their families to attend college probably would not have other-wise known the meanings of certain terms on the bulletin board (i.e., early decision, AP course, FAFSA, TAP, EOP, HBCU, and Bursar’s Office), hence its importance.
  • Participants at the 40 high schools frequently noted how teachers doubled as college advisors who offered assistance with the college choice process, admissions and scholarship applications, SAT prep, and financial aid documents.
  • “Did you see the signs above the classrooms?” one young man asked. “We are encouraged to talk to teachers about where they went to college; they help
  • Copies of college acceptance letters were stapled to bulletin boards and taped to walls in several other schools we visited.

However, although students at many schools are being inspired to pursue college, the report notes that even these schools are failing to provide students with pertinent information pertaining to financial aid and scholarships:

  • Despite their academic performance, few participants planned to finance their college education via scholarships and merit-based awards.
  • Although some expected to receive Pell Grants and awards from the New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), an alarming number of students planned to finance college through student loans and working off-campus jobs.
  • We occasionally asked if they knew about the Gates Millennium Scholars Program, income threshold and no-loans financial aid policies at elite private colleges and universities, or the Posse Foundation’s scholars program (financial aid initiatives for which their grade point averages and socioeconomic statuses would likely qualify them); their answers were almost always no.
  • One young man planned to simultaneously work full-time and be a full-time college student. Although his socioeconomic status would surely qualify him, he had never heard of on-campus employment opportunities via the Federal Work Study Program.

Schools must do more to foster a culture of high expectations, make parents feel welcomed, provide parents with the information and resources they need to encourage their children’s aspirations early during their schooling, and expose students to the wide range of scholarship and financial aid opportunities based on their gifts, talents, and family circumstances.

The Facts About Who Goes to College

The U.S. Department of Education provides information pertaining to the make up of U.S. undergraduate students (Profile of Undergraduate Students) in 2-year and 4-year colleges and universities. The report provides important insights into who the students are, grades they earn, amount of financial aid they receive, and the numbers who move on from freshman year toward their degree.

Important highlights are:

  • Only American Indian and Pacific Islander students attend 4-year colleges at a rate greater than 50 percent
  • With the exception of Asians (79.4 percent), over 80 percent of all students attend college in their home state
  • The percentage of female college students outnumber males in all racial groups with the largest gap between Black females (63.1 percent) and Black males (36.9 percent)
  • Over 50 percent of all students receive financial aid and leave college with at least $5,500 in student loan debt
  • Over 30 percent of all college students take at least one remedial course

Where students attend college:

American Indian

  • 53.3 percent attend 4-year colleges
  • 37.8 percent attend 2-year colleges


  • 42.5 percent attend 4-year colleges
  • 45.5 percent attend 2-year colleges


  • 46.6 percent attend 4-year colleges
  • 42.9 percent attend 2-year colleges


  • 45.3 percent attend 4-year colleges
  • 40.2 percent attend 2-year colleges

Pacific Islander

  • 55.8 percent attend 4-year colleges
  • 32.7 percent attend 2-year colleges


  • 49.5 percent attend 4-year colleges
  • 40.9 percent attend 2-year colleges

The type of colleges students attend:

American Indian

  • 74.4 percent attend Public
  • 8.7 percent attend Private nonprofit
  • 10.6 percent For-profit


  • 72.0 percent attend Public
  • 12.7 percent attend Private nonprofit
  • 4.9 percent For-profit


  • 65.9 percent attend Public
  • 11.3 percent attend Private nonprofit
  • 15.9 percent For-profit


  • 67.0 percent attend Public
  • 11.6 percent attend Private nonprofit
  • 13.2 percent For-profit

Pacific Islander

  • 69.0 percent attend Public
  • 13.6 percent attend Private nonprofit
  • 8.5 percent For-profit


  • 70.9 percent attend Public
  • 14.5 percent attend Private nonprofit
  • 6.8 percent For-profit

Percentage of college enrollment by grade level:

American Indian

  • 46.6 percent first-year
  • 31.8 percent second-year
  • 9.1 percent third-year
  • 9.7 percent fourth-year


  • 36.9 percent first-year
  • 25.4 percent second-year
  • 12.7 percent third-year
  • 18.2 percent fourth-year


  • 47.8 percent first-year
  • 27.3 percent second-year
  • 11.1 percent third-year
  • 11.4 percent fourth-year


  • 46.8 percent first-year
  • 27.3 percent second-year
  • 11.4 percent third-year
  • 11.4 percent fourth-year

Pacific Islander

  • 45.7 percent first-year
  • 26.6 percent second-year
  • 11.0 percent third-year
  • 11.3 percent fourth-year


  • 37.9 percent first-year
  • 27.5 percent second-year
  • 14.0 percent third-year
  • 16.6 percent fourth-year

Percentage of students who attend college in their own state:

  • American Indian: 82.6 percent
  • Asian: 79.4 percent
  • Black: 85.9 percent
  • Hispanic: 92.6 percent
  • Pacific Islander: 89.1 percent
  • White: 86.7 percent

Percentage of grades student receive:

American Indian

  • 15.3 percent Mostly A’s
  • 15.2 percent A’s and B’s
  • 24.1 percent Mostly B’s
  • 21.9 percent B’s and C’s
  • 11.7 percent Mostly C’s
  • 11.8 percent C’s and D’s or lower


  • 19.2 percent Mostly A’s
  • 23.6 percent A’s and B’s
  • 24.9 percent Mostly B’s
  • 16.0 percent B’s and C’s
  • 9.7 percent Mostly C’s
  • 6.6 percent C’s and D’s or lower


  • 9.7 percent Mostly A’s
  • 17.4 percent A’s and B’s
  • 24.7 percent Mostly B’s
  • 21.4 percent B’s and C’s
  • 14.3 percent Mostly C’s
  • 12.6 percent C’s and D’s or lower


  • 12.6 percent Mostly A’s
  • 19.3 percent A’s and B’s
  • 26.9 percent Mostly B’s
  • 19.8 percent B’s and C’s
  • 11.6 percent Mostly C’s
  • 9.8 percent C’s and D’s or lower

Pacific Islander

  • 12.6 percent Mostly A’s
  • 18.5 percent A’s and B’s
  • 27.4 percent Mostly B’s
  • 18.0 percent B’s and C’s
  • 14.3 percent Mostly C’s
  • 9.2 percent C’s and D’s or lower


  • 19.2 percent Mostly A’s
  • 25.1 percent A’s and B’s
  • 24.7 percent Mostly B’s
  • 15.5 percent B’s and C’s
  • 8.8 percent Mostly C’s
  • 6.6 percent C’s and D’s or lower

Male and female college students by racial group:

American Indian

  • 54.9 percent female
  • 45.1 percent male


  • 53.6 percent female
  • 46.4 percent male


  • 63.1 percent female
  • 36.9 percent male


  • 59.6 percent female
  • 40.4 percent male

Pacific Islander

  • 56.0 percent female
  • 44.0 percent male


  • 55.2 percent female
  • 44.8 percent male

Percent of dependent college students who receive financial aid:

American Indian

  • 70.8 percent receive financial aid
  • $5,500 in average loans


  • 53.4 percent receive financial aid
  • $6,600 in average loans


  • 76.2 percent receive financial aid
  • $6,900 in average loans


  • 69.0 percent received financial aid
  • $6,700 in loans

Pacific Islander

  • 61.5 percent receive financial aid
  • $7,200 in average loans


  • 63.5 percent receive financial aid
  • $7,100 in average loans

Percent of college students who took at least one remedial course:

  • American Indian: 43.9 percent
  • Asian: 38.1 percent
  • Black: 47.3 percent
  • Hispanic: 45.1 percent
  • Pacific Islander: 40.6 percent
  • White: 33.1 percent

How to Research Schools

Parents and students have the opportunity to become more informed than ever about their elementary, middle, high school, and college. The websites on this page allow parents and students to research school performance, test scores, demographics, graduation rates, national ranking, and student impressions.

SAT, ACT, and AP Exam Scores

ACT Scores for the entire country and by individual state.

SAT Scores by state, racial group, and subject area.

AP Report to the Nation provides AP exam data by state, racial group, and subject area.

K-12 School Demographics

The U.S. Department of Education website provides information about federal programs, parent rights, Title I schools, etc.

The National Center for Education Statistics website is the central source of information for K-12 public and private schools, as well as colleges and universities.

To identify your school’s performance, as measured on their Adequate Yearly Progress Report (AYP), google your state and the term AYP, e.g., “Georgia AYP.” This should take you to your state department of education website where you may identify your school and read their report.

Read AYP 101 for more information

College Information

There are a number of sources for gathering information on U.S. colleges and universities. The National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator website provides comprehensive information.

The College Results Online website provides extensive institutional information for all U.S. colleges and universities such as admission rates, graduation rates, costs, demographics, and student enrollment.

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund provides a listing of Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Newsweek ranking of U.S. Colleges and Universities

Princeton Review College Rankings

A comprehensive listing of Community Colleges by state

Aspen Institute’s ranking of Community Colleges

The College Confidential website provides discussion forums were parents and students share their experiences

The College Prowler website provides comprehensive information from students regarding financial aid, best experiences, campus life, etc.

Financial Aid

The Project on Student Debt provides important information, reports, and research regarding student loan debt.

The FinAid website provides an extensive overview of the types, costs, and processes associated with borrowing and repaying student loans.

Comparison of 5 top scholarship search engines for information about scholarship search websites.

The U.S. Government’s Federal Student Aid website guides you through a number of questions that will assist in identifying your options for paying for college. It will estimate your EFC (Expected Family Contribution), whether or not you are Pell Grant eligible, and the type and amounts of Federal Student Loans you qualify for.

Please share this page with your friends and classmates. This page will be continually updated as more research websites are identified.

Curriculum Matters

While many states are focusing on implementing the Common Core State Standards, many parents and students are confused about why the curriculum matters so much. After all, as long as students are learning how to read, write, compute, and think, aren’t they being prepared for college and careers? The answer is no!

The report, Large-Scale Evaluations of Curricular Effectiveness: The Case of Elementary Mathematics in Indiana, notes the very different learning outcomes experienced by students in elementary schools using different mathematics curricula. The study noted that 56 percent of fourth graders do math problems from their textbooks every day during class. Even this is a cause for alarm—why are only half of our students working math problems daily? With over 70 different curriculum alternatives, it stands to reason that students are largely learning what is in the textbooks. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics note: “If a topic is not included in the curriculum materials, there is a good chance that teachers will not cover it.”

The study revealed differences in student performance on state testing in grades 3, 6, 8, and 10, based on the math curriculum adopted by their respective schools. According to theACT Report: The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2012 for Indiana, 58 percent of Indiana’s students demonstrated college readiness in Mathematics compared to only 46 percent nationally. Although better than the national average, with only slightly more than half of Indiana’s students demonstrating college readiness in mathematics by 12th grade, parents and students should compare the sample ACT math problems against the type of problems students are being taught in their current curriculum.

Two questions should guide parents and students in taking ownership of student learning:

  1. What are students being taught in the current curriculum?
  2. What will students be expected to know to be ready for college?

Based on your school’s curriculum, there may be a huge gap between what students are being taught and what they will be expected to know to be successful in college. Parents and students should also be interested in knowing there are many colleges and universities that offer students full academic scholarships based on a student’s GPA and ACT or SAT scores. Ensuring that your school’s curriculum is effectively preparing students to perform well on the SAT or ACT can result in the opportunity for students to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars in academic scholarships.


College Completion Rates for Hispanic Students

A report by the Education Trust provides insight into the colleges and universities that are successfully increasing Hispanic student completion rates. The report, Advancing to Completion: Increasing degree attainment by improving graduation rates and closing gaps for Hispanic students, notes:

  • Less than one in five Hispanics between the ages of 25 to 29 has attained at least a bachelor’s degree
  • While 60 percent of all college students receive their degrees in 6 years, the percentage for Hispanic students is 47 percent

Although six-year national college degree completion rate for Hispanic students is 47 percent, there are huge disparities between the degree completion rates among individual colleges and universities. With the high cost of college tuition and the huge amount of debt that many college students incur, Hispanic parents and their children should pay close attention to each college’s degree completion rate as they engage in their college research and make the important decision of where to attend college.

The colleges and universities with the highest 6-year degree completion rate for Hispanic students mentioned in the report are:

  1. 98 percent: Penn
  2. 97 percent: Duke
  3. 97 percent: Harvard
  4. 96 percent: Wesleyan (CT)
  5. 95 percent: Notre Dame
  6. 92 percent: University of Chicago
  7. 88 percent: University of Southern California
  8. 87 percent: Santa Clara University (CA)
  9. 87 percent: Vassar
  10. 87 percent: University of Georgia
  11. 86 percent: Occidental College (CA)
  12. 84 percent: University of Dallas
  13. 83 percent: Boston University
  14. 81 percent: Point Loma Nazarene University (CA)

The colleges and universities with the lowest 6-year degree completion rate for Hispanic students mentioned in the report are:

  1. 28 percent: Wayland Baptist University (TX)
  2. 33 percent: Caribbean University-Ponce (PR)
  3. 39 percent: University of Colorado
  4. 40 percent: Stephen F. Austin (TX)
  5. 41 percent: Rhode Island College
  6. 44 percent: Dowling College (NY)
  7. 44 percent: Georgia Southern
  8. 44 percent: Southwestern Adventist University (TX)
  9. 43 percent: SUNY college at Buffalo (NY)
  10. 49 percent: Virginia Commonwealth

Visit theCollege Results Online website to view the graduation rates for most U.S. colleges and universities.



College Completion Rates for African-American Students

A report by the Education Trust provides insight into the colleges and universities that are successfully increasing African American student completion rates. The report, Advancing to Completion: Increasing degree attainment by improving graduation rates and closing gaps for African-American students, notes:

  • Less than one in five African-Americans between the ages of 25 to 29 has attained at least a bachelor’s degree
  • While 60 percent of all college students receive their degrees in 6 years, the percentage for African-American students is 40 percent

Although the six-year national college degree completion rate for African-American students is 40 percent, there are huge disparities between the degree completion rates for African-American students among individual colleges and universities. With the high cost of college tuition and the huge amount of debt that many college students incur, African-American parents and their children should pay close attention to each college’s degree completion rate as they engage in their college research and make the important decision of where to attend college.

The colleges and universities with the highest 6-year degree completion rate for African-American students mentioned in the report are:

  1. 97 percent: Harvard
  2. 95 percent: Vassar College (NY)
  3. 91 percent: Duke
  4. 89 percent: University of Southern California
  5. 88 percent: Rice (TX)
  6. 87 percent: Carnegie Mellon
  7. 87 percent: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (NY)
  8. 87 percent: Furman (SC)
  9. 85 percent: US Naval Academy
  10. 81 percent: Trinity College (CT)

The colleges and universities with the lowest 6-year degree completion rate for African-American students mentioned in the report are:

  1. 24 percent: Stillman College (AL)
  2. 25 percent: Texas Wesleyan
  3. 27 percent: Gallaudet University (SC)
  4. 28 percent: Indiana University-Purdue University
  5. 33 percent: American International College (MA)
  6. 35 percent: Tiffin University (OH)
  7. 35 percent: Long Island University (NY)
  8. 36 percent: Faulkner University (AL)
  9. 36 percent: University of Massachusetts-Boston
  10. 37 percent: University of West Georgia

Visit the College Results Online website to view the graduation rates for most U.S. colleges and universities.

Posse Scholars

Our Foundation is a Nominating Organization

Our foundation serves as a nominating organization for the Posse Atlanta Office. Partner colleges for the Posse Atlanta are:

  1. Bard College (Scholarship Award Valued at: $190,240)
  2. Brandeis University (Scholarship Award Valued at: $184,088)
  3. Boston University (Scholarship Award Valued at: $182,744)
  4. The College of Wooster (Scholarship Award Valued at: $173,400)
  5. Syracuse University (Scholarship Award Valued at: $161,520)
  6. Texas A&M University (Scholarship Award Valued at: $105,424)

If you are high school junior living the Atlanta area, you may email: if you would like to be considered for nomination.

What the Posse Atlanta Office does

The POSSE Foundation identifies, recruits and trains public high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential to become Posse Scholars. These students—many of whom might have been overlooked by traditional college selection processes—receive four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarships from Posse’s partner institutions of higher education. Posse also partners with graduate programs, which provide scholarships and other forms of financial assistance to Posse Alumni interested in earning advanced degrees.

Each fall, students are nominated by high schools and community-based organizations for their leadership and academic potential. Posse partner colleges and universities award merit-based leadership scholarships to multicultural teams of 10 students each. These teams (Posses) attend college together.

What the Posse Foundation provides….

Every year,* Posse works closely with its network of high schools and community-based organizations to recruit Posse Scholars. Each Posse Scholar wins a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to attend one of Posse’s partner colleges or universities.

Students who are chosen to become Posse Scholars find out in late December, which means that they have committed to attend a partner university for the following semester.


To be eligible, a high school senior MUST:

  1. Be nominated by their high school or a community-based organization
  2. Be in the first term of their senior year in high school. Depending on the Posse city, nominations are often taken between the spring and early August before the new school year begins.
  3. Demonstrate leadership within their high school, community or family.
  4. Demonstrate academic potential.
  5. There is not minimum GPA needed to be maintained by a Posse Scholar, but the Scholar should keep in mind that schoolwork should be well maintained and still looked upon with a high regard.
  6. Posse has no cut offs as far as GPAs and SATs/ACTs. Posse does look for students who demonstrate high academic potential and have the desire to perform well in top ranked academic environments.

Target applicant…

Posse seeks students who are:

  • Leaders in their high schools and communities
  • Committed to their education and demonstrate academic potential
  • Interested in teamwork and diversity
  • Positive, motivated, talented, ambitious young people

Read the 2012 Alumni Report…

Do You Know Your Gifts?

Do you know your gifts?

I had the opportunity to share the stage with Dalton Sherman, an extraordinary young man. Many know him from the YouTube video of his speech to over 20,000 Dallas Independent School District teachers and support staff, “Do You Believe in Me?” Dalton and I spoke at the Closing the Achievement Gap: Cutting the Pipeline to Prison Conference held recently in Columbia, South Carolina. Dalton spoke from the heart when he posed the question of parents and teachers, “Do you believe in me?” He also posed the question of students, “Do you believe in yourself?”

These two simple questions, “Do you believe in me?” and “Do you believe in yourself?” challenges parents, teachers, and students to engage in much needed self-reflection. When parents and teachers communicate their belief in their children and students they invariably are looking for students’ gifts and talents, potential and possibilities. A common theme in student achievement research is the importance of parent and teacher expectations and their belief in student potential and student achievement.

An important component of a college’s admission decision is what students will bring to a college’s school community—leadership, athletic abilities, creative gifts in the arts, or gifts and talents across a broad range of intellectual and creative areas. Long before sitting down to put together their college applications, students must ask themselves the following five questions:

  1. What are my passions?
  2. What are my gifts, talents, or interests?
  3. What are the opportunities within my school and community to pursue my passions or develop my talents?
  4. What are the before-school, after-school, or summer program opportunities to pursue my passions or develop my talents?
  5. What level of commitment am I willing to make to pursuing my passions and developing my talents?

Encouraging children to develop their gifts and providing opportunities for them to be exposed to personal development and enrichment programs will greatly expand their postsecondary opportunities and enrich their lives.

KSU SAT Boot Camp

The Kennesaw State University 2012 SAT Boot Camp is open to rising juniors and seniors from under-represented groups.

For a $25 registration fee, students will receive:

  • Twelve hours of professional SAT preparatory instruction
  • The opportunity to take a practice SAT test
  • SAT practice workbook and study guide
  • Customized tours of the KSU campus
  • College Admissions and Financial Aid information
  • Activities, giveaways, door prizes and more!

For more information or to submit an application, visit

Download application…