In the News…

Newsletter: November 1, 2020

 

Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)


November 1 Early Decision and Early Action Deadlines

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

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

FAFSA Completion Sessions

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

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

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

Let’s Give a Shout Out!

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

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

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

Guilford County Schools First Generation College Student Ambassadors 

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

October Recap

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

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

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

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

November Sessions

Important actions for high school seniors:

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

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

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

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

Mark Your Calendar

Monthly Meeting Schedule:The second Saturday of each month.

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Facebook Page

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

Visit our Blog for past newsletters…


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

 

Newsletter: October 12, 2020

October 12, 2020
Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)


October Virtual Cohort Meeting

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

Pre-registration for Zoom Meetings

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

Completing the Zoom Pre-registration

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

Zoom Pre-registration Deadlines

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

New Facebook Page

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

Read the Newsletter!

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

Normal meeting schedule:

The second Saturday of each month:

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

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

Visit our Blog for past newsletters…

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

Newsletter: October 1, 2020

Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)

September Recap

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

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

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

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

October Sessions

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Welcome

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

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

Visit our Blog for past newsletters…

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

Newsletter: September 1, 2020

Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)


Welcome to our 2020/21 College Planning Cohort

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

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

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

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

Program Overview

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

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

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

You Must Register to Attend The Live Virtual Sessions

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

Pre-registration is required:

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

Online Classrooms Open Today

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

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

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

Important Actions for New Students

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

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

Mark Your Calendar

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

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

High School Juniors

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

High School Seniors

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

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

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

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

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

Need to Register?

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

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

Newsletter: August 1, 2020

Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)


The Rest of the World is Not Waiting

The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States has filled many high school students, particularly seniors, with anxiety about returning to school or trepidation about passionately embracing the forced transition to virtual learning. However, the rest of the world is not slacking off and the competition from international students for seats in the freshman class at U.S. colleges and universities will be fierce. With so many colleges waiving SAT and ACT score requirements, colleges will increase their scrutiny of course taking, grades, leadership, service, and how students made a difference in their homes and communities in response to COVID-19 disruptions to their normal lives. More than ever, students will need college planning guidance to assist with navigating the changes to college admissions and the huge increase in applications that colleges will be receiving as they change to test optional admission policies. While these changes can provide opportunities for students with the right planning, packaging, and essays, they will present huge challenges for many thousands of students who fail to embrace or respond to the new normal.


High School Seniors

Pictured above is our July Zoom session with high school seniors discussing their ‘My Story’ essays. Our monthly virtual sessions are great! The small group discussions, lead by Charles and Lora Williams, and supported by a team of college students from our College Planning Cohort Alumni Leadership Board: Whitney Williams (Spelman College;) Jayla Shoffner (North Carolina A&T State University); Sydney Barron (North Carolina Central University); and Justin Matthews (Dillard University), engaged in small group conversations with seniors about their essays. The discussions about students’ autobiographical essays provides a context for how a student’s brand develops over the course of his/her lifetime. Eventually, each student’s ‘My Story’ essay will provide the foundation for their Common Application essay and responses to writing prompts.Throughout the country, people are living their stories through protests, on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis, and dealing with an imploding economy resulting in job loss, eviction, and hunger. College admissions officers need to know each student’s story as the context for understanding a student’s body of work.

Recap: 4-day College Planning Boot Camp for High School Students

We hosted an extraordinary all-virtual college planning boot camp for high school students. Our college interns included: Damian Lee (Northeastern University); Jayla Shoffner (North Carolina A&T State University); Justin Matthews (Dillard University); Kristen Starks (University of Richmond); Robert Penn (George Mason University): Summer Ford (University of Georgia); Sydney Soskin (University of Chicago); Sydney Starks (Bowdoin College); and Whitney Williams (Spelman College). Our high school interns included: Ava B. (Lake City High School (SC)); Couper W. (Ragsdale High School (NC)); Haley H. (Lake City High School (SC)); Jada F. (South Cobb High School (GA)); and Omar D., (Paulding County High School (GA)).

From the beginning, the boot camp started with a strong start that pushed me and motivated me to own the process and take my future into my hands. I really enjoyed not only seeing familiar faces amongst the students in my class but also amongst the interns that were leading my group. It brought me a sense of belonging and created an environment where I could focus on achieving all my responsibilities during the boot camp. Furthermore, the website and classes through which we completed the majority of our work were well organized and filled to the brim with new information. The online text was also riddled with stories of inspiring students who have participated in the program and went on to be accepted into amazing colleges. 

The rest of the boot camp continued the process of building my knowledge and motivating me to develop grit in anything I do, whether it be on filling my body of work or applying myself academically. I hope to continue with the program and I have set a plethora of academic, community, and personal goals to pursue for the rest of the year. I would also like to increase my role in this process and obtain a leadership role within the cohort through which I could lead other students towards academic success and college acceptance. Thank you for granting me the opportunity to learn and dedicate myself to the previously inexplicably intimidating process of college application and acceptance.

Hubert P.
St. Petersburg High School Class of 2022

Recap: 4-day College Planning Boot Camp for Middle School Students

We registered over 125 students for our all-virtual college planning boot camp for middle school students. Our college interns included: Justin Matthews (Dillard University); Nina Shack (Middle Tennessee State University): Summer Ford (University of Georgia); Sydney Barron (North Carolina Central University); and Sydney Starks (Bowdoin College). Our high school interns included: Ava B. (Lake City High School (SC)); Carmen S. (Middle College @ GTCC (NC)); Couper W. (Ragsdale High School (NC)); Jada F. (South Cobb High School (GA)); Joanne L. (St. Petersburg High School (FL)); Joshua S. (Merriville High School (IN)); Myah J., (Northside Christian School (FL)); Omar D., (Paulding County High School (GA)); and TaRetta B. (Hillgrove High School (GA)). We were also supported by our first middle school interns: Jack H. (Bay Point Middle School (FL)); and Jocelyn L. (Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School (FL)). We also welcomed to our team, Dr. Lois McKee, Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School Counselor.

The 4-day boot camp culminated with students submitting action plans, many of which were in the form of PowerPoint Presentations, through which students shared their school-year goals, college/career aspirations, gifts and talents, personality type, and Interest Profile. Some of the 8th grade students who “Owned the Process,” will be allowed to participate in our 2020/21 9 – 10th Grade Online Classroom.

Hello Mr. And Mrs. Wynn,

Thank you so very much for the opportunity to have my child join the boot camp program! This experience has been invaluable for our entire family. My son, a rising sophomore, also joined alongside his sister and was able to complete the assignments as well. In the past, he has struggled to find something that would spark his interest in regard to a direction for his future and college. However, with your program, in these four days, using his personality and talents he has pinpointed anthropology as a direction. It’s hard to remember another time he was so excited about something related to school. To say this has thrilled us is an understatement. We would like to foster this excitement and help direct him and *keep* him focused in the right direction.  

We would like to have him officially join the high school program. It has been a joy to watch the kids work so hard on their futures this week!  

Parent


COVID-19 Updates to our 2020/21 Program

When colleges are no longer considering test scores in their admission decisions, it is more important than ever for students to present admissions officers with a seamless body of work: classes; grades; leadership; service; teacher recommendations; awards; and essays, that collectively tell a story—providing a context for a student’s passions and establishes a clear case for what makes a student an exceptional applicant. While the presentation of a student’s body or work involves packaging, developing the body of work itself, requires strategies. Consequently, to support robust small group conversations in our monthly virtual sessions, we have made updates to our curriculum. The September through January Modules provide guidance in developing a set of strategies within 5 distinct areas of each student’s college-bound plan to achieve exceptionality in one or more areas of each student’s body of work:

  1. Part I: Gifts and Talents
  2. Part II: Personality and Interests
  3. Part III: Coursework
  4. Part IV: Activities and Service
  5. Part V: Leadership and Awards

The small group discussions about each student’s set of strategies are supported by college graduates, like our son, Mychal-David Wynn, a Certified College Advisor and graduate of Amherst College, and college students serving on our College Planning Cohort Alumni Leadership Board who, like Nina Shack (pictured above), discovered their passions and are pursuing their dreams. Nina, a member of our 2019 Turner Chapel AME Church Cohort, received her professional pilot’s license and drone certification prior to entering college at Middle Tennessee State University, where she is pursuing her dreams of becoming a commercial pilot. These small group conversations, guided by college students representing a broad range of HBCUs, liberal arts colleges, and research universities proved enormously popular among students and parents during our summer boot camps.  

Register Now or Sponsor a Student

Since 2013, our College Planning Cohort Program has made a difference in the lives of thousands of students from underserved communities. Among them are Damian Lee, Torch Scholar at Northeastern University; Mikayla Hanna 2015 Gates Millennium Scholar; Rebeca Pacheco, 2016 Gates Millennium Scholar; Christian Hanna, Hamilton College; Crystell Phoenix, Northwestern University; Hali Shaw, Claflin University; Brenna Kaplan, Amherst College; Latajah Alford, Claflin University; Etame Kandy, Swarthmore; Bre’an Moore, Carleton College; Sydney Soskin, University of Chicago; and Kimberly Hadaway, Williams College. The lives of these students and their families were forever changed because the students were deserving of the opportunity and someone connected them to our program.

We encourage school districts, sororities, fraternities, Boys and Girls Clubs, and faith-based organizations who may not have the people or financial resources to support a cohort to sponsor 1 – 5 students who are deserving of the opportunity to participate in our program. Without the support of programs like ours, such students will continue to “Undermatch.” The Inside Higher Ed article by Scott Jaschik (April 2018), “The Missing Black Students,” notes:

  • black students are the most likely to enroll at a college less selective than their qualifications would permit
  • students who are undermatched — many of them minority students — are less likely to graduate on time than are those who attend colleges that match their abilities
  • the rate of college undermatch was highest for black students (49 percent), followed by white students (45 percent), Latino students (41 percent) and Asian students (31 percent)

Each high school could easily sponsor their top 5 performing students with little impact to their overall school budget. Title I high schools could sponsor many more students. Once a student is registered in our program, their school has no further responsibility. We immediately replace feelings of cultural isolation with a shared identity by immersing students into supportive small group learning communities of students from diverse backgrounds with similar college/career aspirations. For many students, our program is not only God sent, it is a transformational experience.

I would like to start off by saying I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in this program. I learned so much more in the past four days about college and scholarship opportunities that I have in the past three years of attending my high school. I would love to continue the FGCSA College Cohort program and to continue to learn more about how I can build a stronger résumé for the remainder of my senior year. I know my current résumé is very unimpressive, but I assure you I will work hard to find opportunities to volunteer my time into my community, school, and academics. From this experience, it has become very clearer to me that in order to become a successful scholar, I will need to work hard and “own the process.” I hope that one day I will be one of those students profiled in the curriculum. Thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of this boot camp, I can honestly say this experience has completely changed my mindset for the rest of the year and has opened my eyes to what it takes to become a successful scholar. 

Eliana G. | Ragsdale High School Class of 2021

 

Mark Your Calendar

August 8, 2020: High School Senior Class will meet from 9:30 am – 1:00 pm. Participation is mandatory. Only opened to registered students. Click here for the Zoom Session

September 1, 2020: 2020/21 Online Classrooms open to all registered students in grades 9 – 12.

September 12, 2020: High School Students (Grades 9 – 12) will meet from 9:30 am – 1:00 pm. Only opened to registered students. Click here for the Zoom Session

Need to Register?

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

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

Newsletter: July 1, 2020

Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)

High School Seniors

We had a great June meeting with high school seniors. The small group discussions, lead by Mr. Charles and Mrs. Lora Williams, engaged seniors in identifying the ‘brand’ that they are presenting to colleges and scholarship providers. While the concepts of branding and hooks are difficult concepts to understand, Mr. and Mrs. Williams did a great job guiding students through a critical self-examination of what is being presented on students’ résumés and through their email signatures. All seniors should now have email signatures promoting their branding; a final college list; and prepared to begin the essay writing process.


Sydney Soskin (University of Chicago) discussed how she developed specific goals, after entering the cohort as a high school junior, that were focused on making her the best possible applicant for being offered admission to her top choice colleges. She also shared how she was able to effectively communicate her story, and make strong connections to her areas of leadership and service, through her University of Chicago essays.

First Generation College Student Ambassadors

Our annual Guilford County Schools First Generation College Student Ambassadors College Planning Boot Camp for Rising High School Juniors was a successful 3-day all-virtual program. The intensive daily sessions were attended by a highly motivated group of rising high school juniors who will begin our year-long program in September. We were pleased with the energy and effort of students who set goals and embraced the importance of planning their remaining 2 million minutes of high school. Students completed their profiles, résumés, and College Greenlight Accounts. Overall, we had a ‘gritty’ group of students with whom we are looking forward to supporting throughout their junior and senior years of high school.


“The three day boot camp has given me so much information about the college admissions process and motivated me to do more than just think about going to college. I was never quite sure where to start when preparing for college, but your program made it so easy for me to understand what to do and how to plan. I thank you and Mrs. Wynn for taking the time to help others succeed. I am very thankful for the opportunity to participate in this program and can’t wait to continue the rest of the program in September.”

Kaila B.
Northern Guilford High School (NC)


College Planning Boot Camp for High School Students (Grades 9 – 12)

We had over 70 students from Florida, Georgia, Indiana, North Carolina, and South Carolina participating in our 4-day all-virtual college planning boot camp for high school students in grades 9 – 12.  In addition to the large group sessions, students engaged in small group discussions with high school and college interns. Our college interns included Damian Lee (Northeastern); Jayla Shoffner (North Carolina A&T); Justin Matthews (Dillard University); Kristen Starks (University of Richmond); Robert Penn (George Mason); Summer Ford (University of Georgia); Sydney Soskin (University of Chicago); Sydney Starks (Bowdoin College); and Whitney Williams (Spelman College). Our high school interns included Ava B. (Lake City High School (SC)); Couper W. (Ragsdale High School (NC)); Haley H. (Lake City High School (SC)); Jada F. (South Cobb High School (GA)); and Omar D., Jr. (Paulding County High School (GA)). Our interns, many of whom are profiled in our curriculum, were able to share their cohort experiences and the impact on their college and scholarship trajectories.

Our daily question for participating students is, “What has become clearer to you?”

“What has become more clearer to me, as mentioned in our meeting, was how rigorous and competitive it is to apply for college and get accepted. Like of course I knew it was competitive, but I didn’t know the severity of it. The type of goals I’ve been inspired to set are investing a lot more into leadership opportunities because that’s what I lack in the most. I would absolutely be interested in getting all the help I can before going to college since I’m approaching my senior year. 

Overall, my boot camp experience was been absolutely amazing. The college interns we had in our breakout sessions were awesome! Our class had Summer Ford (UGA) and Robert Penn (George Mason) and they were so relatable, helpful, and resourceful. They answered not only all of my questions thoroughly, but they were really enjoyable to work with.”

Kai W. | GPA: 4.29 | Class Rank: 20/222
Lakewood High School Class of 2021
National Honor Society | Lakewood Key Club Webmaster

Middle School Boot Camp

Jump start your school year from the comfort of your home during a 4-day all-virtual college planning boot camp (Grades 6 – 8). Join the many middle school boot camp participants who are continuing to achieve the goals set during the boot camp and who are now academically accomplished high school juniors and seniors with tremendous college and scholarship opportunities. We are excited to welcome back our Pinellas County Schools 2019 middle school boot camp participants.

4-day Virtual Summer College Planning Boot Camp for Middle School Students (Grades 6-8) 
(Advanced Registration Required) Limited to the first 100 registrations.

Monday, July 6 – Thursday, July 9, 2020
8:30 am: Online session opens/advanced registration required
9:00 am – 2:00 pm: Rotating schedule of presentation; small group discussions; and independent work.
During the first session: We will have student speakers, Mallory; Briston; and Adriana from Northwest High School in Jackson, Michigan who will share their boot camp experiences, “What The Summer Middle School Boot Camp Did For Me!” 

Extension

Our 2020 High School Boot Camp online classroom was set to close at midnight, June 30, 2020. However, we have extended access to the online classroom until Noon on Friday, July 3, 2020. Students may continue to complete the activities and finalize their school-year plans until that time. Boot camp students in grades 9 – 11, who will be continuing in our 2020/21 College Planning Cohort Program, will have access to our online classroom for their grade level on September 1. We will announce our 2020/21 schedule of monthly meetings in our August 1, 2020, newsletter.

Success is Intentional

Our boot camp theme, “Success is Intentional,” is reflected in the extraordinary success of our all-virtual program. While many school districts have experienced challenges with moving students into an all-virtual learning environment, our success has been intentional. We have created and focused our online curriculum around a set of core components:

  • Inspiring students to “Own the Process”
  • Guiding students in discovering of their interests, gifts, and talents
  • Demystifying the college admissions process
  • Inspiring students to “Don’t Leave Any Points on the Table” by pursuing exceptionality in academics, leadership, and service
  • Supporting small learning communities
  • Helping students see their potential and plan their success

While there are many amazing testimonials from boot camp students, we believe that Eliana Gutierrez, from Ragsdale High School in North Carolina sums it up nicely:

“From this experience, It has become very clear to me that in order to become a successful scholar, I will need to work hard and “own the process.” As a senior, I understand I have wasted a lot of time throughout my high school years, I wish I would have learned about this program during my freshman year because as I listened to your advice to the ninth graders, I couldn’t help but imagine what I could have done to help shape my future. This program has shown me that it doesn’t matter where you come from or what you’ve been through, because with enough dedication and work ethic, any student can create a successful future for themselves. I hope that one day I will be one of those students. 

Thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of this boot camp, I can honestly say this experience has completely changed my mindset for the rest of the year and has opened my eyes to what it takes to become a successful scholar.” 

Eliana Gutierrez 
Ragsdale High School Class of 2021
GPA: 4.1 | College Planning Cohort Youth Leadership Board

Mark Your Calendar

July 6 – 9, 2020: College Planning Boot Camp for Middle School Students. Registration closes at midnight on July 2. Students will be added to a waiting list after that time. Click here to register.

July 11, 2020: Monthly session for current high school seniors focused on essay writing. Click here to register.

Our 2020/21 College Planning Cohort Program will host monthly sessions on the second Saturday of each month. Grade level appropriate online classrooms for students in grades 9 – 10; 11; and 12 will guide students through strategically planning to college-bound trajectories throughout their 2 million high school minutes.

Click here to register for your appropriate grade level…

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

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

Newsletter: June 1, 2020

Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)

Start Your Engines

We are excited to open our 12-month High School Senior Online Classroom today. The comprehensive 2020/21 High School Senior curriculum provides guidance from the end of students’ junior year of high school through finalizing their May 1, 2021, college enrollment decisions. The curriculum covers every aspect of the college admission and financial aid processes such as college and scholarship match, branding, identifying recommenders, essay writing, packaging applications, completing the FAFSA and CSS Profile, choosing admission cycles, applying for financial aid, responding to document requests, understanding financial aid award letters, and applying for scholarships—all focused on avoiding or minimizing student loan debt. Cohort students from our school district and community partners, who completed the 2019/20 High School Junior Classroom, have the opportunity to transition into our high school senior classroom where they will begin working on essays and writing responses for their well researched list of colleges and scholarships. Students who were unable to complete the assignments have another opportunity to do so during the summer college planning boot camp for high school students. 

We Appreciate Our Partners

We are excited about continuing our school district partnerships with Florence County School District 3 (SC); Guilford County Schools (NC); and Pinellas County Schools (FL). We are also excited about the opportunity to continue supporting our faith- and community-based partnerships with the Alpharetta-Smyrna Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., ASA Guide Right; Ghana United Christian Church (GA); Turner Chapel AME Church Education Ministry (GA); and the World Victory International Christian Center (NC).

Please share this newsletter with faith- and community-based organizations in your community who may wish to partner with us to expand college and scholarship opportunities for students and families throughout the country. Despite the educational uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been in continuous contact with our college partners and disseminating information to students regarding campus openings, Fly-in Programs, and colleges that will be test optional in 2021. We encourage you to follow us on Facebook.

Back by Popular Demand! FREE Virtual Summer Boot Camp Preview Session
Click here to register…
Saturday, June 6 – Boot Camp Preview
10:30 am: Online session opens/advanced registration required
11:00 am: Student Speakers: Sydney Soskin (University of Chicago); Damian Lee (Northeastern University)

Monthly Live Virtual Session for High School Seniors
(Only opened to registered students)

Saturday, June 13, 2020
9:30 am: Online session opens/advanced registration required
10:00 am – 10:30 am: Presentation
10:30 am – 11:30 am: Small Group Discussions
11:30 am – Noon: Open Mic Questions and Answers

Guilford County Schools
3-day Virtual Summer College Planning Boot Camp for Rising High School Juniors 

Tuesday, June 16 – Thursday, June 18, 2020
8:30 am: Online session opens/advanced registration required
9:00 am – 2:00 pm: Rotating schedule of presentation; independent work; discussion

4-day Virtual Summer College Planning Boot Camp for High School Students (Grades 9-12)
(Advanced Registration Required)

Monday, June 22 – Thursday, June 25, 2020
8:30 am: Online session opens/advanced registration required
9:00 am – 1:00 pm: Rotating schedule of presentation; independent work; discussion

Grades 9 – 10: High school freshmen and sophomores will be engaged in an intensive set of activities through which they will explore their gifts and talents; personality type; careers; develop an academic résumé; develop an initial college list; and set school-year goals across such areas as academics, leadership, and service.

Grade 11: High school juniors will be engaged in an intensive set of activities through which they will set goals during their critical junior year of high school in a manner aligned with their college/career aspirations. Students will explore college admission during the age of COVID-19 and the critical steps they must take during their junior year to become a competitive candidate for being offered admission to top colleges.

Grade 12: High school seniors will be engaged in an intensive set of activities to finalize college lists, identify scholarship opportunities, and begin writing essays within the context of college choice and financial need.

Middle School Students

Jump start your school year from the comfort of your home during a 4-day virtual summer college planning boot camp (Grades 7 – 8). Join the many middle school boot camp participants who are continuing to achieve the goals set during the boot camp and who are now academically accomplished high school juniors and seniors with tremendous college and scholarship opportunities. We are excited to welcome back our Pinellas County Schools 2019 middle school boot camp participants.

4-day Virtual Summer College Planning Boot Camp for Middle School Students (Grades 7-8) 
(Advanced Registration Required)

Monday, July 6 – Thursday, July 9, 2020
8:30 am: Online session opens/advanced registration required
9:00 am – 2:00 pm: Rotating schedule of presentation; independent work; discussion
During the first session: We will have student speakers, Mallory; Briston; and Adriana from Northwest High School in Jackson, Michigan who will share their boot camp experiences, “What The Summer Middle School Boot Camp Did For Me!” 

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

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

Newsletter: May 1, 2020

Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)


We are Nationally Recognized!

Pictured above are high school juniors participating in our Guilford County Schools College Planning Cohort, now in its fifth year. The First Generation College Student Ambassador (FGCSA) Program, administered through the Guilford County Schools Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has received the2020 Magna Award. The prestigious honor, awarded by the National School Boards Association to school districts with enrollment over 20,000, honors districts across the country for programs that break down barriers for underserved students. The award recognizes our Guilford County Schools’ success with the assisting nearly 400 students, most of whom are first generation and college aspiring, in developing comprehensive college-bound plans to expand college access and successfully navigate college admissions, scholarships, and financial aid. Over the past five years, participating students have been offered admission to top colleges and scholarships in excess of $10 million.

We are Celebrating Our 2020 Seniors

Collectively, our Class of 2020 has been offered admission to over 100 colleges and universities; and awarded over $5 million in scholarships.
Highlights from our Class of 2020:

  • Full, or full tuition scholarships to: Agnes Scott, Appalachian State, Benedict, Bowdoin, Carleton, Concord, Elon, Embry-Riddle, FAMU, Florida School of the Arts, Howard, Johnson & Wales, North Carolina A&T, North Carolina Central, Ohio State, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Pembroke, University of Chicago, Tuskegee, Wake Forest, Warren Wilson, Williams, Wofford, and Xavier University of Louisiana.
  • Admission to honors colleges and specialized programs: Claflin University Honors Program; Elon University Odyssey Program; FAMU Honors Program; Johnson & Wales Rhode Island Honors College; North Carolina A&T Honors Program; UMBC Honors Program; UMBC Meyerhoff Scholars Program; UNC-Chapel Hill Honors Program; UNC-Charlotte Honors Program; UNC-Greensboro Honors Program; UNC-Wilmington Honors College; University of Chicago CAAP Program; and the University of Cincinnati Dual Admissions BS/MD Program.
  • Most scholarships: Sydney S., Guilford County Schools Cohort ($1,531,696).
  • Most full scholarships: Joshua W., Guilford County Schools Cohort (Appalachian State; Claflin University Honors College; and North Carolina A&T Honors College).
  • Highest value full scholarships: Sydney S., Pinellas County Schools Cohort, ($273,444 – University of Chicago); and Bre’an M., Atlanta-area Cohort, ($273,240 – Carleton College).
  • Athletes with full or partial scholarships: Barrett C., Guilford County Schools Cohort, Bluefield State University; Clint C., Florence County School District 3 Cohort, Presbyterian College; Darryl “Keith” Q., Jr., Guilford County Schools Cohort, UNC-Pembroke; Justin J., Florence County School District 3 Cohort, Wingate University; and Zoe P., Guilford County Schools Cohort, Concord University.
  • Class Valedictorians: Joshua W., Eastern Guilford High School (NC), North Carolina A&T Honors College; Kimani R., Lake City Early College High School (SC), North Carolina A&T; Sydney S., Early/Middle College@GTCC (NC), Bowdoin College.
  • Class Salutatorians: Savannah P., Lake City Early College High School (SC), Lee University; Sydney B., Early/Middle College@GTCC (NC), North Carolina Central Honors College.

Full Scholarship Recipients:

  • Bre’an M., Grayson High School (GA), Carleton College
  • Darryl “Keith” Q., Jr., Southern Guilford High School (NC), UNC – Pembroke
  • Donavon P. (a junior), Greensboro College Middle College (NC), offered full scholarships to the US Naval Academy and the US Military Academy at West Point
  • Jessica P., Gibbs High School (FL), Johnson & Wales Rhode Island Honors College
  • Joshua W., Eastern Guilford High School (NC), North Carolina A&T Honors College
  • Mel S., Lake City Early College High School (SC), Benedict College
  • Mia P., Lake City Early College High School (SC), Benedict College
  • Sydney B., Early/Middle College@GTCC (NC), North Carolina Central Honors College
  • Sydney S., St. Petersburg High School (FL), University of Chicago  
  • Sydney S., Early/Middle College@GTCC (NC), Bowdoin College

What “Zoom” Means for Our Program

In April, cohort students and parents experienced our successful transition to the Zoom platform. All virtual sessions were held live and presented by Mychal Wynn, CEO/Founder of the Foundation for Ensuring Access and Equity; creator of the online curriculum; and author of “A Middle School Plan for Students with College-Bound Dreams; A High School Plan for Students with College-Bound Dreams; and Show Me the Money: Scholarships Financial Aid, and Making the Right College Choice.” 

In this transition, our live virtual sessions are secure and fully monitored. A survey of students and parents has confirmed that the virtual sessions are a welcomed expansion of our program through the safest means of continuing uninterrupted college planning guidance and support for students throughout the country.

Following are some of the benefits and changes resulting from this expansion of our program:

  • A yearlong calendar of virtual sessions (by grade level) will be published in our September newsletter. (Note: virtual sessions will only be opened to registered students).
  • Virtual sessions will include a lecture and Q & A session, in which parents are encouraged to participate.
  • Sessions will only be available for live participation; videotaping of sessions is prohibited; no videos of sessions will be provided.
  • We will offer a makeup session each month for students experiencing a scheduling conflict.
  • Guest speakers will be incorporated into our program. Current college students, parents, and students will share experiences pertinent to our monthly modules (e.g., honors college, liberal arts colleges, HBCU, summer programs, and cooperative education programs).

Overall, the transition to virtual sessions will reflect a significant expansion of our program, providing even greater levels of college planning guidance and support for students and families. Our online curriculum is continually expanding, while incorporating the announced changes to postsecondary education as a result of the COVID-19 impact on college admission. Our curriculum will become even more culturally relevant as students who are profiled in our monthly lessons serve as guest speakers. In this manner, their stories will not only be shared through the curriculum, but their experiences will be personalized through their presentation and response to questions from students and parents.

College Planning Boot Camps

At this time, our 4-day 2020 Summer College Planning Boot Camps are being planned as virtual sessions. Students will be guided through a daily agenda in which lessons are introduced via a live virtual presentation; questions and answers; and time for students to work through the lessons in our online class.

Following is the confirmed schedule (registration is limited to the first 100 registrants):

High School Juniors Must Register Now

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed American life in ways that cannot be fully anticipated over the coming months, or perhaps years. Many colleges will have test optional admission policies for their 2021 and 2022 applicants. However, along with the opportunity to apply to a broader number of colleges, will be the challenge of seeing the number of college applications dramatically increase. Consequently, high school juniors cannot turn off their college planning and restart their planning in the fall. Our online curriculum will continue to have important units to complete in June, July, and August to ensure that when, and if, high schools reopen in August and September, cohort students will be ahead of virtually all of their classmates in their preparation for submitting their college applications.

Our 2020/21 Online Classroom for High School Seniors will open on June 1:

  • Florence County School District 3 juniors in good standing will be automatically transitioned
  • Guilford County Schools juniors in good standing will be automatically transitioned
  • Pinellas County Schools juniors in good standing will be automatically transitioned
  • All other high school seniors will be added to the class after purchasing a registration and completing the New Student Activities
  • High school juniors currently enrolled in our program may click here to register

Summer 2020 Virtual Sessions for High School Seniors

  • Saturday, June 13, 2020: 9:30 am – 11:30 am
  • Saturday, July 11, 2020: 9:30 am – 11:30 am
  • Saturday, August 8 2020: 9:30 am – 11:30 am

New students may click here to register
Grades 9 – 10
Grade 11
Grade 12

Important Announcements

  • Atlanta-area Cohort Seniors will have their Kente Cloth mailed to their home.
  • ASA Guide Right Seniors will receive their Kente Cloth from Mr. Lucas.
  • Guilford County Schools First Generation College Student Ambassadors Seniors will receive their Kente Cloth from Mrs. Hobbs.
  • Florence County School District 3 Students in good standing will be able to pick up their Kente Cloth from the District Office.
  • Pinellas County Schools Seniors will receive their Kente Cloth from Dr. Brinson.
  • United Ghana Christian Church Seniors will receive their Kente Cloth from Ms. Nana Adjepong.

May Cohort Meetings

Saturday, May 9 – Guilford County Schools (Senior Celebration)
10:30 am: Online session opens/advanced registration required
11:00 am: FGCSA High School Senior Celebration

Saturday, May 16 – Atlanta-area; Florence County School District 3; Pinellas County Schools; and Ghana United Christian Church Cohorts (Final Regular Meeting)
8:30 am: Online session opens/advanced registration required
9:00 am – 9:45 am: Grades 9 – 10
10:00 am – 10:45 am: Juniors
11:00 am – 11:45: Recognition of High School Seniors
Noon – 12:30 pm: Open Mic Questions and Answers

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

 

Newsletter: April 1, 2020

Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)

COVID-19 and Virtual Learning

The global coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has resulted in colleges abruptly sending students home, K – 12 school closings, governors and mayors issuing stay-at-home orders, empty shelves at local grocery stores, and millions of people being out of work. For millions of families, life with never be the same. Thousands of families will lose loved ones, thousands of companies will go out of business, and millions of people will be unemployed. Yet, high school seniors will still need to confirm college enrollment decisions, while high school students in grades 9 – 11 must adjust their college-bound plans accordingly.

The University of North Carolina University System has approved new, and lower standards for being admitted to a UNC school (i.e., minimum 2.5 GPA; or ACT score of 17; or SAT score of 880). More states are likely to lower admission requirements, allowing more students access to college, while increasing grade and test score requirements to qualify for scholarships, allowing fewer students with access to need-based financial aid. The impact of COVID-19 on ACT and SAT testing is pushing more colleges to become test optional. Current college students learned just how precarious their situations were when they found themselves being told to leave their dormitories, but not having enough money to travel home or having an unstable home situation ahead of them. Over the coming months, many students and families will struggle financially as they navigate an uncertain future. In the fall, new and returning college-bound students are likely to experience increased student loan debt as they finance their way back to, or onto college campuses. Now is the time for prayer, patience, and persistence. As we pray for guidance and divine intervention, we must be patient in dealing with circumstances beyond our control, and persistent in taking an active role in planning for and pursuing our hopes and aspirations.

As K – 12 schools struggle to offer online lessons and virtual instruction, we have seamlessly moved our face-to-face College Planning Cohort meetings into virtual presentations. While Mrs. Wynn and I value our face-to-face meetings with students, our virtual sessions allow us to reach many more students and families. Our first 30-minute, “Parents Only” session, inspired by Dr. Lewis Brinson, Minority Achievement Officer for Pinellas County Schools, lasted well over an hour. This unexpected transition to virtual instruction was not only well received by students, families, and our community partners, but added a transformative new dimension to our programming—one which will allow us to provide greater support for cohorts operated by our faith- and community-based partners. While our monthly face-to-face sessions have space limitations, we can reach hundreds more students through our virtual sessions and expand our program to provide college planning guidance to middle school students beyond our college planning boot camps.  

Where Are ‘We’ Going?

As thousands of high school seniors receive college admission decisions today, they must not only pay attention to where they were offered admission, but how much financial aid they were offered. Students must finalize their enrollment decision for most colleges by May 1. In so doing, students will be binding their family to high college costs, and possibly thousands of dollars in student loan debt over the next 4 – 6 years while attending college and for many years after leaving college. However, high school juniors should be paying attention to where current seniors were offered admission and where they were rejected; and where students were offered full scholarships as opposed to being offered thousands of dollars in student and Parent PLUS loans.

Many high school seniors are uncertain as to what to do next, while pondering such questions as:

  • What should I be doing amid the COVID-19 challenges to higher education?
  • What should I be doing in response to school closings and cancellation of SAT/ACT testing dates?
  • What type of actions should I be taking in preparation for submitting my college applications in the fall?

Unfortunately, there are no quick answers to these and the many other questions that high school juniors should be asking, such as which classes to take in the fall, how to maximize virtual learning opportunities offered by their school district or in their state, how to continue developing their gifts and talents during school closings, or how to demonstrate leadership and where to engage in community service. The reason that we developed our College Planning Cohort Program is that there are no quick answers to college planning, no more than there are quick answers to AP Calculus, AP Physics, or AP Statistics. Achieving proficiency in calculus, or in college planning, requires thoughtful student engagement in lessons, i.e., reading, writing, research, analysis, and synthesis of information, all focused on an intentional outcome, albeit solving a math problem or developing a college plan.

The question that high school juniors are being guided in answering through our April Module: College Application and Scholarship Plan, is “Where Are ‘We’ Going?” The concept of, “We” must be underscored. Developing high quality college application packages will require the assistance of many people and for students to answer such questions as: Who will review my essays? Who will proofread my applications? Who will write my recommendation letters? Who will assist me in preparing for interviews? Who will assist me in preparing portfolios or for auditions? Who will ensure that I have a high quality academic résumé that highlights my commitment to service and leadership? Who will assist me in preparing a special-focus résumé to showcase my athletic or artistic achievements? Who will assist me in navigating the many college and scholarship websites through which I will submit and monitor the status of my applications? Who will assist me in navigating the online portals, after I have been offered admission, so that I may check my financial aid status and view my award letters? And finally, who will assist me and my parents with understanding the financial aid awards that are being offered? There are likely to be many people, volunteering hundreds of hours of their time to support your college and scholarship applications. So, prior to making demands on their time, you must answer the question, “Where are we going?”

Finalizing Enrollment Decisions

It goes without saying that high school seniors should clearly understand financial aid awards, PRIOR, to finalizing enrollment decisions. We are continually dismayed at the number of high school seniors who continue checking the mail or email for award letters, as a result of their failure to read their acceptance letters! In most acceptance letters, colleges provided instructions for setting up a student account and accessing financial aid awards through the college’s online portal—steps that students must take to accept/decline scholarships and grants; accept/decline student loans; and respond to document requests, including being ‘Selected for Verification.’ For those students who focused their attention, almost exclusively on ‘getting in’ rather than on ‘how college will get paid for,’ they will be shocked by the enormous amount of money for which they must now budget and the amount of student and Parent PLUS Loans they must now assume.

Beyond comparing financial aid offers, high school seniors should carefully consider how colleges have responded to the coronavirus crisis. Students should talk to family and friends who are attending college about how their schools are dealing with the crisis and providing student support.

  • How did colleges communicate campus closings?
  • What assistance did colleges provide students in moving out of dorms, storing belongings, returning home, or finding alternative housing?
  • How are colleges ensuring student access to online classrooms?
  • When, and how much, will colleges refund students for tuition, room, and board?
  • How clearly and consistently are colleges communicating with students regarding when campuses will reopen and when students will be allowed to return to campus?

Following are articles of interest:

Another challenge for high school seniors attempting to finalize college enrollment decisions is that many campuses are now closed to campus visits. Consequently, students may be forced to choose among colleges from which they have never visited their campuses. 

Grades 9 – 11—What Now?

For many of our cohort students in grades 9 – 11, the 2019/20 school year will close without their being able to return to school. Our April and May activities will guide students through a year-end assessment in which they unpack their résumés as part of a process of self-reflection and self-assessment:

  • What goals did I set at the beginning of the school year, and how successful was I in achieving those goals?
  • What areas did I experience exceptional levels of achievement, e.g., academics, athletics, art, music, dance, entrepreneurship, etc.?
  • What level of coursework was I able to excel and what level of coursework will I pursue during the next school year, i.e., honors, AP, IB, or dual enrollment?
  • What gifts or talents were developed or revealed and what opportunities will I have during the next school year to further develop my gifts and talents?

These and other such questions must be considered within a college/career context. So doing is the only way of ensuring that during the 2020/21 school year, students will be enrolling into classes, pursuing leadership roles, engaging in community service, and developing their gifts in a manner consistent will maximizing their competitiveness for the colleges and scholarships for which they are intending to apply. In September, 9th graders were introduced to the film “2 Million Minutes,” which provided insight into the global competition for college admission and future jobs. While each of a student’s 2 million minutes of high school is spread over 8 semesters, for high school juniors, your performance during this, your 6th semester of high school, may be the determining factor in where you are offered admission to college at this time next year. 

Cohort Meetings

We are hosting all April and May cohort meetings online for our school district partners—Florence County School District 3, Guilford County Schools, and Pinellas County Schools. We will also host virtual sessions for our Atlanta-area Cohorts, including ASA Guide Right and the United Ghana Christian Church. Online sessions will be presented live and will require advanced registration.

Registration for rising high school seniors opens on May 1. We will continue to host virtual sessions during June, July, and August focused on developing high quality college and scholarship applications packages well ahead of college and scholarship deadlines. While less than 2 percent of students nationally earn full college scholarships, we are pleased to report that the percentage of cohort students attending college on full scholarships is far above the national average. This, in part, is the result our efforts in guiding rising high school seniors in developing high quality college application packages and submitting college applications through the most advantageous admission cycle.

Following is our schedule of online sessions for April:

Saturday, April 11 – ASA Guide Right
8:30 am: Online session opens/advanced registration required
9:00 am – 9:45 am: Presentation for Grades 9 – 10
10:00 am – 10:45 am: Presentation for Grade 11
11:00 am – 11:30 am: For Parents Only

Saturday, April 18 – Guilford County Schools (Final Regular Meeting)
8:30 am: Online session opens/advanced registration required
9:00 am – 11:30 am: Seniors
11:30 am – Noon: Open Mic – Questions and Answers
Noon – 2:30 pm: Juniors
2:30 pm – 3:00 am: Open Mic – Questions and Answers

Friday, April 24 – Florence County School District 3 (Final Regular Meeting)
8:30 am: Online session opens/advanced registration required
9:00 am – 11:30 am: Juniors
11:30 am – Noon: Open Mic – Questions and Answers
Noon – 2:30 pm: Seniors
2:30 pm – 3:00 am: Open Mic – Questions and Answers

Saturday, April 25 – Atlanta-area and Pinellas County Schools
8:30 am: Online session opens/advanced registration required
9:00 am – 11:30 am: Grades 9 – 11
11:30 am – Noon: Open Mic – Questions and Answers
Noon – 2:30 pm: Seniors
2:30 pm – 3:00 am: Open Mic – Questions and Answers

Congratulations 

While many students will receive their college admission decisions today, following is a listing of students who have received recent admission decisions and scholarship notifications:

  • Bre’an M., (Atlanta-area Cohort) – full scholarship to Carleton College.
  • Clint C., (Florence County School District 3 Cohort) – will be attending playing football at Presbyterian University on an academic scholarship
  • Darryl “Keith” Q., Jr., (Guilford County Schools Cohort) – full athletic scholarship to play football at the University of North Carolina Pembroke
  • Jayla S., (Guilford County Schools Cohort) – full scholarship North Carolina A&T Honors College
  • Joshua W., (Guilford County Schools Cohort) – full scholarship offers from Appalachian State; North Carolina A&T Honors College; and Claflin University Honors College
  • Mel S., (Florence County School District 3 Cohort) – full scholarship to Benedict College
  • Sydney S., (Guilford County Schools Cohort) has been offered admission, together with a generous scholarship to Bowdoin
  • Mia P., (Florence County School District 3 Cohort), has been offered a full scholarship to Benedict College
  • Sydney B., (Guilford County Schools Cohort) – full scholarship offers from Tuskegee University and North Carolina Central 
  • Sydney P., (Guilford County Schools Cohort) – full tuition scholarship (+books) to the North Carolina A&T Honors College 
  • Sydney S., (Pinellas County Schools Cohort) – full scholarship to the University of Chicago
  • Sydney S., (Guilford County Schools Cohort) – full tuition scholarships to North Carolina A&T and UNC-Chapel Hill Honors Colleges; and generous financial aid offers from Bowdoin, University of Richmond, Wake Forest, Williams, and Wofford 
  • Zoe P., (Guilford County Schools Cohort) – will be playing soccer at Concord University on an athletic scholarship

College Planning Boot Camps

Our college planning boot camp schedule is being revised for the following school districts:

  • Rising 9th Graders. Judson ISD (Converse, TX)
  • Rising 10th Graders. Judson ISD (Converse, TX)
  • High School Students. Pinellas County Schools (St. Petersburg, FL)
  • Middle School Students. Pinellas County Schools (St. Petersburg, FL)

At this time, the schedule for the following boot camps remains unchanged:

  • June 16 – 18: Rising 11th Graders. Guilford County Schools (Greensboro, NC)
  • July 27 – 30: Rising Seniors. Florence County School District 3 (Lake City, SC).

We are planning to add additional virtual college planning boot camps for the following grades:

  • Rising 9th – 10th Graders
  • Rising 11th Graders 
  • Rising High School Seniors Part I: Identifying the ‘Right’ Colleges and ‘Right’ Scholarships
  • Rising High School Seniors Part II: Essay Writing

Why rising high school seniors must attend a boot camp:

  • Ensure that you have packaged correctly for each of your colleges
  • Ensure that your essays reflect non-cognitive variables and speak to the institutional mission of your colleges
  • Ensure that your essays tells the story that college admission officers need to hear
  • Ensure that you are applying to the ‘right’ colleges, to the ‘right’ admission cycle, and for the ‘right’ scholarships
  • Ensure that you do not begin your senior year of high school behind and overwhelmed 

Registration for our 2020/21 Cohorts opens on June 1 for rising seniors and on July 1 for students in grades 9 – 11. We are currently developing College Planning Cohorts for middle school students (more information forthcoming): 

We encourage our new students to review past newsletters posted to our blog.

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

Newsletter: March 1, 2020

March 1, 2020
Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)


Researching Colleges and Scholarships 

During March and April, many students will have the opportunity to visit colleges during Spring Break. However, beyond programs, distance from home, dormitories, and the cafeteria, students must concern themselves with the cost of each school and how they plan to pay that cost. The failure of students and parents to thoroughly research the costs of attending college continues to fuel the disastrous student debt crisis. Each year, far too many high school seniors concern themselves with paying for college, AFTER, they have been offered admission and received financial aid award letters, lamenting, “I need to find scholarships.” In 2020, 7 out of 10 students left college owing an average of nearly $30,000 in student loans. (Student Loan Statistics for 2020) However, the cost of attendance at in-state public universities averaging $25,000 per year and 4-year graduation rates averaging less than 50 percent, explains why over 2.5 million students have amassed over $100,000 in student loan debt. Buying a Porsche Carrera GT ($98,000) with a 7-year loan might be less painful than the lifetime of student loan debt students and parents will carry as a result of making uninformed college decisions. 

During our February Atlanta-area cohort meeting, we presented an overview of how significantly the financial aid policies of colleges will impact college costs and potential student loan debt. We examined the financial aid awards of 3 students offered admission to Williams College. After completing the FAFSA and CSS Profile, their expected family contributions ranged from $29,200 to only $2,075 per year. Over 4 years, the out of pocket costs would range from $116,800 to $8,300. Clearly, searching for $8,300 in scholarships would be far easier than amassing $116,800 in scholarships. Consequently, attending Williams College could be great for one student and disastrous for another—this is why identifying the ‘right’ colleges goes far beyond dormitories, cafeteria food, and a student’s major when considering that a third of students change their major within 3 years of attending college.

College Majors
While Williams College is an excellent example of a school that meets the full financial need of families, as determined by the FAFSA and CSS Profile, the difference in costs between a student from a lower income family with a ‘0’ EFC may be the same as a student from an upper income family with a ‘$20,000’ EFC at a public university like the University of Georgia, North Carolina State, or the University of South Carolina. Such schools typically provide little financial support beyond state scholarship and grants (other than for recruited athletes).

Students from lower and middle income families must match to the ‘right’ colleges or qualify for the ‘right’ scholarships. Like Williams College, Rice University’s Rice Investment, provides another example of matching to the right college:

Determining the right school comes down to several factors—often, the biggest one is affordability. At Rice, we believe that talent deserves opportunity. For domestic students we offer need-blind admission, which means we do not consider your finances when we review your application. Additionally, Rice is a need-based institution, which means we offer financial aid based on a family’s financial needs. Students receiving aid under The Rice Investment will have all demonstrated need met without any loans.

The following table outlines Rice’s financial aid commitment

 

A student with a family income under $65,000 would in essence receive a $63,252 institutional scholarship to Rice (valued at $253,008 over 4 years).This is why our program focuses more attention on getting into the right colleges than on applying for scholarships. The Coca Cola Scholarship awards $5,000 per year, the Ron Brown Scholarship awards $10,000 per year, and the competition for being awarded such scholarships is fierce. Whereas, for the student who commits to earning top grades and test scores, engaging in meaningful activities and leadership, and thoughtfully working through the activities in our program, they will have a pathway to hundreds of thousands of dollars in institutional scholarships as a high school senior. As you set academic goals for each school year, it is important to understand that to benefit from Rice’s generous financial aid policy, you must meet the admission standards where median SAT scores are 1490-1560 and ACT scores are 32-35. As the college research units guide you into the right schools, you must set goals for becoming the type of student to benefit from such opportunities.

Congratulations

A core tenet of our program is encouraging students to “Own the Process.” Rather than becoming involved in activities to pad résumés, we want to inspire students to pursue academic achievement, leadership, and service with passion. Top academic achievers, leaders who are making a difference in their clubs and activities, and engaging in meaningful community service will make an impact on students’ local communities and expand their college and scholarship opportunities. Illustrated here are the goals of one of our Pinellas County Schools 7th graders. Developing such goals as a 7th grader, places this student onto a trajectory toward full scholarship opportunities at such schools as Williams, Amherst, Rice, University of Chicago, Duke, Princeton, and Vanderbilt.

In a similar manner, Ian F., attended our Judson ISD College Planning Boot Camp as a rising high school sophomore. Now, a high school junior, Ian has greatly expanded his college and scholarship opportunities by attaining a #1 class rank in his high school; scoring 1500 on the PSAT; and assuming such leadership roles as Captain of the UIL Computer Science Club; President of the Business Professionals of America; and Concertmaster for the Varsity Orchestra. Ian is developing an outstanding résumé as he makes himself a competitive candidate for his top choice college—MIT.

College Students

Former cohort students are now owning their college experience by becoming campus leaders, serving their communities, and pursuing summa, magna, and cum laude honors. North Carolina A&T Honors College Ambassador and 2nd-year student, Akilah Williams (TCC Cohort), graciously shared her time and insight with Florence County School District 3 Cohort high school senior, Kimani R., who left campus with North Carolina A&T rising to her top choice college. Congratulations to Cathryn Ackerman  (FCSD3 Cohort) who made the Dean’s List at Francis Marion University and Rhea Thompson (Atlanta-area Cohort), who made the Dean’s List at Xavier University of Louisiana. We appreciate Mikayla Hanna (Florence County School District 3 Cohort), 2015 Gates Millennium Scholar, UMBC Meyerhoff Scholar, and graduate of UMBC with a BS in Biology, taking the time, together with her grandmother, to visit the Lake City Early College High School College Cohort to speak to our current high school juniors. 

High School Seniors

Congratulations to Joshua W., (Guilford County Schools Cohort), who has received 3 full scholarship offers. Joshua, the Class Valedictorian and a member of the varsity baseball and basketball teams at his high school, has been offered the Chancellor’s Scholarship by Appalachian State University (full scholarship); the Lewis and Elizabeth Dowdy Scholarship by the North Carolina A & T State University Honors College (full scholarship); and the Alice Carson Tisdale Honors College Scholarship by Claflin University (full scholarship). We have been working with Joshua since he was a high school junior. He is an exceptional young man who is actively engage in community service, a recognized leader, and mentor of young men in elementary and middle school. Joshua will have a busy Spring Break visiting each of the schools to determine the right fit and where he will have the opportunity to make the greatest contribution. Former cohort students who are NC A&T Dowdy Scholars and on full scholarship at the Claflin University Honors College are eager to meet Joshua and share the experiences of their respective programs.

It should be noted that less than 2 percent of all college students are attending college on full scholarship, which makes the fact that so many of our cohort students being offered full, or near full scholarships, is such an awesome achievement:

  • Bre’an M., (Atlanta-area Cohort), has received a full scholarship to Carleton College.
  • (Top Photo) Clint C., (Florence County School District 3 Cohort), has signed a commitment letter and has been awarded a generous academic scholarship to continue playing football at Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina.
  • (Middle Photo) Darryl “Keith” Q., Jr., (Guilford County Schools Cohort), has signed a National Letter of Intent and will receive a full scholarship to continue playing football at the University of North Carolina – Pembroke in Pembroke, North Carolina.
  • Jayla, S., (Guilford County Schools Cohort), has been offered the Presidential Scholarship to Xavier University of Louisiana and the Lewis and Elizabeth Dowdy Scholarship (full scholarship) to the North Carolina A&T Honors College.
  • Joshua W., (Guilford County Schools), has been offered 3 full scholarships (Appalachian State; North Carolina A&T; Claflin University).
  • Mel S., (Florence County School District 3 Cohort), has been offered a full scholarship to Benedict College.
  • Sydney B., (Guilford County Schools Cohort), has been offered the Presidential Scholarship to Tuskegee University (full scholarship) and the Cheatham-White Scholarship to North Carolina Central (full scholarship).
  • Sydney S., (Pinellas County Schools Cohort) has received a full scholarship to the University of Chicago.
  • Sydney S., (Guilford County Schools Cohort), has been offered a full tuition scholarship to the UNC-Chapel Hill Honors College. 
  • Sydney S., and Sydney P., (Guilford County Schools Cohort), have been offered full tuition scholarships (+books) to the North Carolina A&T Honors College. 
  • (Bottom Photo) Zoe P., (Guilford County Schools Cohort), has signed a commitment letter to continue playing soccer at Concord University in Athens, West Virginia and has been awarded a generous academic scholarship.

Honors Colleges

Congratulations to our Guilford County Schools Cohort students who have been offered admission to honors colleges: Angelina, M.; Jayla S.; Joshua, W.; Kennedy J.; Sydney B.; Sydney P.; and Sydney S. Colleges include: Claflin University Honors College; North Carolina A&T Honors College; UMBC Honors College; UNC-Chapel Hill Honors College; UNC-Charlotte Honors College; UNC-Greensboro Honors College; and the UNC-Wilmington Honors College.

Meyerhoff Scholars Selection Weekend

Congratulations to Angelina M., and Kennedy J., (Guilford County Schools Cohort) who have been invited to the Meyerhoff Scholars Selection Weekend at the University of Maryland – Baltimore County. The Meyerhoff Scholars Program is at the forefront of efforts to increase diversity among future leaders in science, technology, engineering and related fields. The UMBC Meyerhoff family is now more than 1300 strong, with over 1100 alumni across the nation and 281 students enrolled at UMBC. Over 300 graduates are currently pursuing graduate and professional degrees in STEM fields. Mikayla Hanna, the first Meyerhoff Scholar in the history of South Carolina, from our Florence County School District 3 Cohort (SC) recently received her BS in Biology from UMBC and Samuel Patterson, from our Turner Chapel AME Church Cohort is a current Meyerhoff Scholar pursuing a BS/PhD in economics.

Disney Dreamer’s Academy

Congratulations to one of our newest Atlanta-area Cohort members, Adonna M., who has been selected as 1 of only 15 students from the State of Georgia invited to attend the Disney Dreamer’s Academy.

High School Juniors

The February Module: Researching Colleges and Scholarships guided students through researching the vast array of college and financial aid options. For many students, this is a much more exhausting process than anticipated. Students in Georgia began the process thinking about either the Ivy League, UGA, or Georgia Tech. Students in North Carolina began focused on UNC – Charlotte, UNC – Greensboro, or East Carolina. Students in South Carolina began focused on USC – Columbia, Clemson, or Francis Marion, while students in Florida began focused on the University of Tampa, University of Central Florida, or Florida State. However, most students began their research with little understanding of liberal arts colleges, research universities, cooperative education programs, honors colleges, test optional colleges, dual degree programs or the wide array of financial aid and scholarship opportunities.

We had a great Atlanta-area Cohort meeting. Students who were unable to complete the monthly activities were encouraged to bring their laptop computers and work with volunteers. Students who completed the activities had the opportunity to participate in round table discussions with other students through which they shared their narratives and engaged in a deeper analysis of what they learned through the activities and the direction in which their college-bound strategies were developing.

The March Module: Net Price Calculator guides students through answering the single guiding question, “What are the best college opportunities for students with my interests, academic achievement level, career aspirations, and financial need?” The unit guides students in developing a comprehensive college list and in identifying scholarship opportunities to which students are well matched.

Fly-in Opportunities

Academically accomplished students who will be pursuing the hyper competitive admission to selective colleges and universities may gain a competitive advantage by being invited to a Fly-in Program. These all-expenses paid programs not only provide opportunities to visit campuses, speak with current students, and meet professors and admissions officers, but build relationships with schools. Cohort students invited to Fly-in Programs have gone on to be offered admission to such schools as Amherst, Bates, Bowdoin, Carleton, Case Western Reserve, Bryn Mawr, Swarthmore, University of Richmond, Washington and Lee, and Williams.

Registration for the following programs is now open:

Grades 9 – 10

The March Module: Researching Colleges and Scholarships (Part II) guides students in continuing their college research and exploring the wide range of college opportunities, from HBCUs, first generation friendly college, military service academies, and unique opportunities for athletes. The single guiding question is, “What are the best college opportunities for students with my interests, academic achievement level, and career aspirations?”

We encourage parents and cohort facilitators to engage students in conversations about their research to ensure that students are expanding their understanding of the array of postsecondary college and scholarship opportunities.

Did You Know?

A survey of college admissions officers, determined the following elements in their admission decisions to be considered as of “Considerable Importance:”

  • Grades in All Courses: 75.4%
  • Grades in College Prep Courses: 73.2%
  • Strength of Curriculum: 62.1%
  • Admission Test Scores (SAT, ACT): 45.7%
  • Positive Character Attributes: 25.9%
  • Essay or Writing Sample: 23.2%

March Meeting Dates/Times

Sunday, March 1, 2020: United Ghana Christian Church Cohort (10:00 am – 12:30 pm).

Sunday, March 1, 2020: Rockdale County College Planning Cohort Presentation (4:30 pm – 6:00 pm).

Sunday, March 8, 2020: The Next Episode: Teen Bible Student/College Planning Session for high school juniors and seniors. Turner Chapel AME Church • Marietta, GA Boardroom (9:30 am – 11:30 am).

Sunday, March 8, 2020: Atlanta-area Cohort: Turner Chapel AME Church • Marietta, GA (11:30 am – 12:45 pm). Bring your laptop computers. Note: In recognition of Easter Sunday, the April meeting will be moved from the second Sunday to the third Sunday (April 19).

Sunday, March 8, 2020: Crossroads for Teens Cohort grades 9 – 12. Johnson Ferry Baptist Church • Marietta, GA (3:00 pm – 4:30 pm).

Saturday, March 14, 2020: ASA Guide Right Mentoring Workshop

Friday, March 20, 2020: Lake City Early College High School Juniors Cohort (9:00 am – 2:30 pm). Students will be excused from class to the College Corner. Seniors will be seen by appointment.

Saturday, March 21, 2020: Guilford County Schools Cohort: Seniors (9:00 am – Noon); Juniors (Noon – 3:00 pm). Location: GTCC Greensboro Campus.

Saturday, March 28, 2020: Pinellas County Schools High School Cohort grades 9 – 12. Lakewood High School Media Center • 1400 54th Ave, S • St. Petersburg, FL (9:00 pm – 2:00 pm). 

Saturday, March 28, 2020: ASA Guide Right Cohort Fortis College (9:00 am).

College Planning Boot Camps: Register Now

June 1 – 4: Rising 9th Graders. Judson ISD (Converse, TX).
June 8 – 11: Rising 10th Graders. Judson ISD (Converse, TX).
June 16 – 18: Rising 11th Graders. Guilford County Schools (Greensboro, NC).
June 22 – 25: High School Students. Pinellas County Schools (St. Petersburg, FL).
July 6 – 9: Middle School Students. Pinellas County Schools (St. Petersburg, FL).
July 27 – 30: Rising Seniors. Florence County School District 3 (Lake City, SC).

Registration for our 2020/21 Cohorts opens on July 1. 

Why rising high school seniors must attend a boot camp:

  • Ensure that you have packaged correctly for each of your colleges
  • Ensure that your essays reflect non-cognitive variables and speak to the institutional mission of your colleges
  • Ensure that your essays tells the story that college admission officers need to hear
  • Ensure that you are applying to the ‘right’ colleges, to the ‘right’ admission cycle, and for the ‘right’ scholarships
  • Ensure that you do not begin your senior year of high school behind and overwhelmed 

Atlanta Area College Planning Boot Camp for Rising High School Seniors

We are tentatively planning 2 4-day boot camps for the Atlanta area (July 13-15 and July 20-24). Each session will be hosted at the Turner Chapel AME Church. Current registration fees are:

  • $595 in advance and $795 at the door for non-cohort members
  • $195 for cohort students registered for the 2020/21 academic year
  • $195 for Turner Chapel AME Church members

The primary focus of the boot camp will be on finalizing college applications and essays. Attendance is limited, and registration fees are subjected change, so RSVP to reserve your seat. Click here to register…

We encourage our new students to review past newsletters posted to our blog.

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