Newsletters

Newsletter: October 1, 2021


October 1, 2021
Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)

A Word About Test Scores…

Many high school seniors continue to experience anxiety over test scores despite nearly 2,000 colleges not requiring the submission of test scores! While students may have a cause for concern if their scores do not meet the qualifying criteria for being awarded state scholarships, or qualifying for merit-based institutional scholarships, high school seniors who continue relentlessly retesting in an attempt to raise scores, are failing to consider the inherent distraction of such a pursuit from focusing on their college admissions strategy, i.e., leadership, service, community impact, essays, and writing supplements.

Students in grades 9 – 11, now is the time to incorporate test preparation strategies into the context of your every day schooling, so that you have the opportunity to earn National Merit Scholarship qualifying scores on the 11th grade PSAT and score above the 90th percentile on SAT testing (1350) or ACT testing (29) by June of your junior year of high school.

Commit to Either the SAT or ACT

Since all colleges and scholarship providers will accept either SAT or ACT exam scores, there is no need to continuously take both exams. Take a full length practice test of each exam and review your wrong answers with your teachers. Determine which exam, based on your high school curriculum and the exam that your state supports, and choose a single exam to focus your test taking preparation and strategies throughout high school. After taking your first exam and receiving your score report (see below), meet with each of your subject-area teachers to discuss your wrong answers. Following are salient questions:

  • When was the information taught, or when will it be taught?
  • Once I understand the information, what can I do to ensure that I can successfully answer such questions in the future?

Beyond meeting with your teachers, incorporate or use the information, whenever possible, as part of your normal coursework. Maintain a subject-area composition notebook of major concepts and problem-solving strategies so that you can regularly review and solve problems throughout high school. By using the grammar, language, vocabulary, and problem-solving strategies as part of your day-to-day approach to schooling, you will be well prepared by your junior year of high school to do well on the PSAT and on your test of choice (i.e., SAT or ACT). An added benefit will be taking your composition notebooks with you as you enter college as reference sources for your college classes.

Saturday, October 2, 2021
FAFSA Completion Session 

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is required by all colleges for students applying for financial aid. The FAFSA filing period opens today. On Saturday, October 2, 2021, we will host hourly FAFSA Completion Sessions from 9:00 am – Noon and again from 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm. To ensure that our students have the greatest opportunity to qualify for need-based financial aid and institutional scholarships, we have encouraged students to apply to all of their colleges via Early Action, if offered, and to complete the FAFSA as soon as the FAFSA filing period opens. Click here to register…

  • Many colleges only consider students who apply through their Early Action admissions cycle for ALL available institutional scholarships
  • Many colleges begin awarding their limited financial resources as soon as completed FAFSAs are processed
  • Many colleges award FSEOG funding to lower income students on a first-come first-served basis until the funds are exhausted

Consequently, we have been supporting students since June of their junior year in finalizing their college admissions strategies, finalizing their Common Application essays, and finalizing their supplemental essays. As a result, ALL of our seniors should be prepared to meet their college admissions and scholarship deadlines—no excuses and don’t dare blame COVID! Click here to view the required documents…, which includes your 2020 Tax Records.

We will not cover the CSS Profile. However, those students applying to private institutions requiring the CSS Profile, may click here for a link to the CollegeBoard website.

Saturday, October 9, 2021
October College Planning Cohort Meeting

We will host our second meeting of the 2021-22 school year at 10:00 am on Saturday, October 9, 2021. Our guest speaker will be Allyson Terry, Assistant Director for Community Engagement at the University of Georgia. She supports both the Offices of Undergraduate Admission and Institutional Diversity by working with community based organizations and their students’ dreams of attending college. Allyson is an Alabama native that graduated from Oglethorpe University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and from the University of Georgia with a Master of Public Administration degree.

Ms. Terry will discuss the impact of a student’s gifts and talents on college admissions and will meet with senior parents and students in a breakout room to answer questions regarding UGA and the college admissions process. Click here to register for our October Cohort Session… (Note: Only cohort students and parents may register)

Saturday, October 9, 2021, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Friendship Missionary Baptist Church College Information Session: Part I 

Friendship Mission Baptist Church will host Mychal Wynn, author, and college planning expert for part I of a virtual college information session focused on:

  • How to position yourself for the biggest scholarships
  • Why you are likely to have more full scholarship opportunities from out-of-state schools
  • Why you need to focus on your area of exceptionality (i.e., music, athletics, academics, etc.)

For further information, email: children&youth@friendshipcharlotte.org

Saturday, October 23, 2021, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Full-day Writing Workshop for High School Seniors 

On Saturday, October 23, 2021, from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm, we will offer an intensive one-day workshop for high school seniors seeking support in reviewing/editing college essays or writing responses. We will review and provide guidance for each participating student. Students will best benefit by sharing their essays, via Google Docs, to cpc@collegeplanningcohort.com by 6:00 pm on Monday, October 18, 2021. Students will be introduced to strategies for evaluating essays and responding to multi-prompt questions. Click here to register…

Saturday, October 23, 2021, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Friendship Missionary Baptist Church College Information Session: Part II 

Friendship Mission Baptist Church will host Mychal Wynn, author, and college planning expert for part II of a virtual college information session focused on:

  • The importance of meaningful service and intentional leadership
  • Why your grades and classes are more important than test scores
  • Hear from college students on full scholarships

For further information, email: children&youth@friendshipcharlotte.org

Thursday, October 28, 2021, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Pinellas County Schools College Planning Session for Rising 6th Graders and Parents

Pinellas County Schools Title I Office will host Mychal Wynn, author and college planning expert, who will provide comprehensive insight for parents and students on such topics as:

  • Knowing your gifts and talents
  • Understanding your personality and interests
  • Pursuing the right middle school opportunities
  • Challenging yourself academically
  • Setting goals, and
  • Considering future high school choices

Mr. Wynn will also host a panel of 9th grade cohort students who will share their insights into making their high school choice, setting goals, pursuing leadership, and engaging in community service within a college planning context.

For further information, email Dr. Lewis Brinson: BRINSONLE@pcsg.org

Cohort Students – 11:59 pm Deadline

Narrative responses and monthly presentations are due by 11:59 pm on the final day of each month. This allows discussion group leaders and interns the opportunity to review and comment on each student’s presentation. Modules open on the day of our monthly meetings to allow students an entire month to prepare their presentations, i.e., students will have access to November’s Module on Saturday, October 9, 2021, the day of our October cohort session. 

College Planning Cohort Presentation Award

Earning honors and awards is a critically important part of a student’s overall high school performance. Your awards will be part of your college application and used to compare your high school performance to those of other students from your high school and in the pool of overall college applicants. Following are several awards that our foundation offers participating students:

  • College Planning Cohort Presentation Award: Awarded to one student in our 9th – 10th grade cohort and one student in our 11th grade cohort each month based on the quality and content of their narratives, and the creativity presented in their monthly slide presentation. To qualify for consideration, students must have completed and submitted all monthly presentations. One student presentation will be voted on and selected in each discussion group. Submitted presentations will be judged and selected by majority vote by the College Planning Cohort Youth Leadership Board.
  • College Planning Cohort Certificate of Achievement: Awarded to each student who completes the assigned work and submits each monthly presentation during the first and second semester.
  • College Planning Cohort Award of Excellence: Awarded to a student in grades 9 – 10, and a student in grade 11, who presents the most comprehensive College-bound Plan for the 2021-22 school year.
  • College Planning Cohort Service Award: Awarded to each member of the 2021-22 College Planning Cohort Youth Leadership Board and to each student who serves as an intern in our summer college planning boot camps.
  • College Planning Cohort Youth Leadership Board Awards: Members of the College Planning Cohort Youth Leadership Board will have the opportunity to earn individual awards based on their completed projects.

The College Planning Cohort Presentation Awards for September were presented to Anna Nguyen, a 9th grader in the St. Petersburg High School IB Program in St. Petersburg, Florida and Jayla Jones, an 11th grader at Lake City Early College High School in Lake City, South Carolina.

College Interns/Mentors

We have an extraordinary group of former cohort students, now attending college, who are serving as interns and discussion group leaders: Ava Bingham (Clemson); Faith Kumi (University of Chicago – Odyssey Scholar); Jada Foote (North Carolina A&T Honors Program); Haley Hardway (Francis Marion Teaching Fellow); Kailer Brothers (Wesleyan University); Peyton Wilson (George Washington – Posse Scholar); Robert Penn (George Mason – Mason Scholar); Sydnee Brothers (North Carolina A&T Honors Program); Sydney Barron (North Carolina Central Honors Program); Sydney Starks (Bowdoin College); Sydney Soskin (University of Chicago – Odyssey Scholar); and Whitney Williams (Spelman College Honors Program). 

Florence School District 3

Florence School District 3 Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Laura Hickson, is ensuring that her students have every opportunity to develop a comprehensive college-bound plan. Her 2021-22 initiatives include supporting college readiness through the Writing Center and college planning through the Florence School District 3 College Planning Cohort. Click here to view the district’s College Planning Cohort video.

  • Monday and Wednesday from 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm: The all-virtual Writing Center for any FSD3 students in grades k – 12 is open. Any student, or parent, in the district can bring their homework, test preparation, or essays for review and support. High school seniors can receive guidance and editorial review of their college and scholarship essays and communication with college admissions and financial aid officers. Students should register with their counselor. Click here to attend…
  • Tuesday and Thursday from 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm: The all-virtual College Planning Cohort sessions are offered to all FSD3 high school students in grades 9 – 12. Students receive hands-on instruction in completing the monthly units and engage in discussions about the activities in the curriculum and opportunities in their local community to pursue leadership and service aligned with their gifts, talents, and college/career aspirations. Interested students should contact Ms. Kendra Wilson in the Guidance Office.  Click here to attend…

Mark Your Calendar

Our November guest speaker will be Dr. Yen Duong, a mathematician, writer, and feminist who will be discussing nontraditional STEM pathways through undergraduate, graduate, and PhD programs.

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

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

Newsletter: September 1, 2021

 

September 1, 2021
Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)

Welcome to our 2021-22 College Planning Cohort

The colleges and universities (pictured above), to which many students in our 2021 Cohort received full scholarships, is a particularly impressive list in light of the traumatic disruptions to high schools, colleges, and the lives of students and families due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. An example of the traumatic impact of COVID-19 was in Guilford County Schools, where our longstanding contract and nationally recognized First Generation College Student Ambassador Program was abruptly disbanded and ended the district-sponsored college planning guidance for 100 students and families. However, contract or no contract, we did not abandon students. Our staff, interns, and volunteers continued supporting students throughout the 2020-21 school year and finalizing their enrollment decisions into such schools as Appalachian State; East Carolina; East Tennessee State; High Point University; North Carolina A&T; UNC – Chapel Hill; and UNC-Greensboro.  

Leadership and Service

Lake City Early College High School junior, Jada Jones (pictured above), was interviewed by WBTW News in South Carolina while volunteering to support Florence School District 3 Superintendent, Dr. Laura Hickson’s opening of the district’s tutoring and writing center. Jada, who served as a discussion group leader, intern, and on our 2020-21 Youth Leadership Board, was joined by former cohort and current Francis Marion University student and South Carolina Teaching Fellow, Haley Hardway. Jada and Haley are working closely with Dr. Hickson to make an impact in their local community and expand college access for all students.

College Interns/Mentors

We have an extraordinary group of former cohort students, now attending college, who are serving as interns and discussion group leaders: Ava Bingham (Clemson); Faith Kumi (University of Chicago); Haley Hardway (Francis Marion); Peyton Wilson (George Washington); Robert Penn (George Mason); Sydney Barron (North Carolina Central Honors Program); Sydney Soskin (University of Chicago); Tristyn Brothers (Claflin University Honors College); and Whitney Williams (Spelman College Honors Program). Kimberly Hadaway (Williams ’21), currently pursuing a PhD in math at Iowa State University, will be mentoring high school seniors planning to pursue college majors in math and science.

Community Volunteers

Our team of community volunteers have firsthand experience with our program through their children. Ms. Carolyn Crook, whose daughter, Arielle, has a BS in Biology from Xavier University of Louisiana and a MA in Latin American Studies from Tulane University; and son, Kenneth, has a BS in Business Management from North Carolina A&T State University. Mr. and Mrs. Charles and Lora Williams, whose daughter, Whitney, is a current senior in the Spelman College Honors Program. Ms. Kim Pope, whose son Darrin, is now employed with Ingall’s Shipbuilding in Newport News, Virginia. Ms. Venetta Bridges, whose daughter McKenzie, has a BS in Physical Therapy from Florida State University and a Doctor of Physical Therapy from Georgia State University.

Our brilliant group of Discussion Group Leaders include Rev. Dr. Yolanda Davis, Manager of Spiritual Care at Mercy Care in Atlanta, GA; Lake City Early College High School Counselor, Ms. Kendra Wilson; and Florence School District 3 Director of College and Career Readiness, Mr. Leon Burgess. Our program is also supported through our longstanding partnership with the Alpharetta-Smyrna Alumni Chapter of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., ASA Kappa League College Planning Cohort, Mr. Doug Lucas (Director), and mentors Mr. Brian Thomas, Mr. Clarence Burge, Mr. Derrick Parker, Mr. Eric Henderson, Mr. Ernest Glenn, Mr. Hayward Richardson, Mr. Milford Rosemond, Mr. Rodney Eberhardt, and Rev. Don Ezell.

Our September Cohort Session

We will host our first meeting of the 2021-22 school year at 10:00 am on Saturday, September 11, 2021. We will discuss the important aspects of our program; respond to parent questions; and assign students to grade-level discussion groups. Our program is developed on the principle of cultivating conversational communities in a safe space and supportive environment where students can freely share their hopes and aspirations as they engage in discussions with students from throughout the United States.

Our guest speakers will be West and Heather Brothers, parents of our 2021 Cohort triplets who were awarded a near full scholarship to Wesleyan University; and full scholarships to the North Carolina A&T Honors Program, and the Claflin University Honors College (collectively valued at over $500,000 over 4 years). The meeting link will be sent via email to all registered students and parents. Dr. Laura Hickson, Superintendent of Schools in Florence District 3 and Minority Achievement Officer, Dr. Lewis Brinson, from Pinellas County Schools will bring opening remarks.

College “Planning” versus College “Readiness”

College readiness can be defined operationally as the level of preparation a student needs to enroll and succeed—without remediation—in a credit-bearing general education course at a postsecondary institution that offers a baccalaureate degree or transfer to a baccalaureate program (Source: Redefining College Readiness). College readiness is the core focus of such programs as AVID and Upward Bound.

College planning is the process of thinking about the activities required to achieve a desired goal—albeit admission to a particular college, being awarded a full scholarship, or both. A plan represents a set of goals and objectives to achieve a desired result and engaging in consistent and persistent efforts to achieve the goals set out in the plan. In essence, college readiness is focused on being prepared for college, while college planning is focused on the actions required to be offered admission to the ‘right’ colleges, accepted into the ‘right’ programs, and awarded the ‘right’ scholarships—resulting in on-time degree attainment and avoiding student loan debt. 

Former cohort student and 2021 Rhodes Scholar, Samuel Patterson, III, exemplifies the difference between readiness and planning. His Georgia high school did an excellent job guiding him in becoming “college ready.” However, participation in our cohort guided him in developing a plan, which led him to the Meyerhoff Scholars Program at the University of Maryland – Baltimore County, a program of which neither his fellow students nor high school counselor had any prior knowledge. At UMBC, the Meyerhoff Scholars Program Coordinators guided his planning into being selected as a 2021 Rhodes Scholar. His high school made him “ready” for the opportunity, while the cohort and the Meyerhoff Scholars Program, provided the “plan” to take advantage of the opportunities.

Keys to Success

The key to success in our program is not based on academic performance or maturity, but on student effort. Successful students “Own the process.” The work in our program is not overwhelming nor is it complicated. However, the work is intentional. Strategies do not evolve from wishful thinking, but from engaging in intentional actions. Students are required to read and follow instructions as preparation for successfully applying to college and for scholarships. Students are required to respond to writing prompts as preparation for writing college and scholarship essays. Students are required to engage in small group discussions as preparation for engaging in college classroom discussions and interviewing for scholarships. Students are expected to take personal pride in their work and in their preparation for our monthly meetings in a manner consistent with developing the high quality body of work needed to be offered admission to top colleges and to qualify for top scholarships.

11:59 pm Deadline

With the exception of September, students must submit their final presentations by 11:59 pm on the final day of each month. This allows discussion group leaders and interns time to review and comment on each student’s presentation. However, in preparation for our first meeting, students are expected to complete their presentations by 11:59 pm on September 10th.

While most students are self-motivated and take personal pride in their work, this is not the case with every student, particularly those who lack time management skills. For some students, the key to their success is parent involvement. Parents must help students manage their time by developing consistent schedules and routines. Parents must demonstrate that the work is important by reviewing their student’s work prior to our 11:59 pm deadline. And, parents must require their students to put forth the effort required to be prepared for the monthly discussions.

College planning is a team sport. A student who is offered admission to a top college, together with a full scholarship, benefits his or her entire family. In contrast, a student who is not offered admission to the ‘right’ colleges or awarded the ‘right’ scholarships, is likely to assume thousands of dollars in student loan debt and will cause his or her entire family to suffer. 7 out of 10 (69 percent) college students are leaving college with nearly $30,000 in student loan debt and over 1 in 10 parents (14 percent) will borrow nearly $38,000 in Parent PLUS loans (Source: A Look at the Shocking Student Loan Debt Statistics for 2021). Students who lament that they don’t have time for college planning, don’t need college readiness, they need a psychiatrist!

Florence School District 3

Florence School District 3 Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Laura Hickson, is ensuring that her students have every opportunity to develop a comprehensive college-bound plan. Her 2021-22 initiatives include supporting college readiness through the Writing Center and college planning through the Florence School District 3 College Planning Cohort. Click here to view the district’s College Planning Cohort video.

Monday and Wednesday from 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm: The all-virtual Writing Center is open. Any student, or parent, in the district can bring their homework, test preparation, or essays for review and support. High school seniors can receive guidance and editorial review of their college and scholarship essays and communication with college admissions and financial aid officers. Students should register with their counselor. Click here to attend…

Tuesday and Thursday from 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm: The all-virtual College Planning Cohort sessions are offered to all high school students in grades 9 – 12. Students receive hands-on instruction in completing the monthly units and engage in discussions about the activities in the curriculum and opportunities in their local community to pursue leadership and service aligned with their gifts, talents, and college/career aspirations. Interested students should contact Ms. Kendra Wilson in the Guidance Office.  Click here to attend…

We are not aware of any other school district in the country providing this level of support to ensure that students from lower income families; those who are the first in their family to attend college; undocumented students; or any student with college-bound hopes and aspirations has one-on-one college planning guidance and support. Through Dr. Hickson’s initiatives, students in Florence School District 3 have been selected as Gates Millennium Scholars, QuestBridge Scholars, Northeastern University Torch Scholars, UMBC – Meyerhoff Scholars, and South Carolina Teaching Fellows. Wishful thinking has been transformed into intentional planning.

Attention Seniors

As a result of the COVID-19 disruptions to high schools, colleges, and SAT/ACT testing, college essays are more important than ever. Over 1600 colleges are now test optional and relying on essays as part of their holistic admissions review process. Essays cannot be an afterthought, but must become the primary focus of each student’s college and scholarship applications. Unfortunately, only 3 percent of high school seniors are advanced writers (Source: NAEP Writing Results). Most students put off writing their college essays until close to college and scholarship deadlines and will invariably submit poorly written essays that do not take advantage of the opportunity for increasing their chances of being offered college admission or competitive scholarships.

All high school seniors are encouraged to register for our 4-session Essay Writing Workshops designed to guide students through the entire process of developing a high quality, strategic, and intentional Common Application Essay. Click register here…

Online Classrooms Open Today

All registered students, who have completed the new student activities, and updated their résumés and profiles, will be assigned to a grade-level appropriate online classroom:

  • 2021-22 9th – 10th Grade Classroom
  • 2021-22 High School Junior Classroom
  • 2021-22 High School Senior Classroom

Mark Your Calendar

September 1, 2021: 2021/21 Online Classrooms open to all registered students in grades 8 – 12.

September 11, 2021: Our September Session will kickoff with a large group presentation for all registered students and parents, during which we outline our 2021-22 program, introduce our Discussion Group Leaders.

Meeting Format:

  • 10:00 am – 10:45 am: Large Group Presentation.
  • 10:45 am – 11:30 am: Grade-level Breakout Sessions
  • 10:45 am – 11:15 am: Parent Q&A
  • 11:30 am – Noon: Large Group Wrap-up 
  • Noon – 12:30 pm: Senior Parent/Student Q&A

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

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

 
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Newsletter: August 1, 2021

Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)

Despite the many challenges of the COVID-19 interrupted 2020-21 school year, all students in the 2021 Senior Cohort were offered admission to college and nearly 50% will enter college on a full scholarship, over 20 times the national average of 2%. We have not only spent the summer supporting rising high school students through boot camps in Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, but have developed multiple programs to support student success and students’ college-bound aspirations for the 2021-22 school year.

College Cohort (Grades 9 – 12)

Full-year College Planning Cohort (Grades 9 – 12): Planning is defined as: An orderly or step-by-step conception or proposal for accomplishing an objective; A proposed or intended course of action;or A systematic arrangement of elements or important parts.

College planning is not something that a student does in addition to school, but is a step-by-step approach to maximizing the available opportunities in each student’s school and school district. Each grade-level cohort is guided through a comprehensive 7-year middle-through-high school curriculum; and supported by high school and college interns; school counselors; parents; and college advisers. Students become part of a conversational community of students with similar college/career aspirations from throughout the country. Students participate in monthly grade-level discussions through which they explore their gifts, talents, personality, and interests; engage in self-reflection; set goals; select classes and activities; pursue leadership opportunities; research colleges and scholarships; hear from college admissions and financial aid officers; and are exposed to the success stories of students from similar socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds—all focused on developing the exceptional body of work needed to qualify for admission to top colleges and being awarded competitive scholarships.

Our 2021-22 College Cohort Classroom opens on September 1 and all-virtual monthly sessions begin on Saturday, September 11, 2021 from 10:00 am – Noon. Following a large group presentation, students engage in grade-level discussion groups (i.e., cohorts) focused on 9 monthly topics (grades 9 – 11). The cohort of high school seniors will be guided in meeting monthly deadlines; completing the FAFSA; choosing admission cycles; writing essays; submitting applications; reviewing financial aid award letters; finalizing college enrollment decisions; and pursuing the best college and scholarship opportunities.

Join a Cohort

In addition to our many college partners, we are excited to continue our partnerships with the Alpharetta-Smyrna Alumni Chapter (ASA) of the Kappa Alpha Psi, Fraternity, Inc.; Florence School District 3 (SC); Judson ISD (TX); and Pinellas County Schools (FL). If your fraternity, sorority, faith- or community-based organization would like to partner with us, please email: mychalwynn@accessandequity.org.

Essay Writing Workshops

Our comprehensive 4-session Essay Writing Workshop Series, introduced in June, will be offered monthly throughout the 2021-22 school year to provide essay writing support for high school seniors applying to college and applying for scholarships. Students will be guided in writing high quality college, supplemental, and scholarship essays.

Writing Center

Comprehensive writing support for homework, research papers, essays, school papers, communication with colleges, and general writing needs for elementary through high school students through a weekly class and one-on-one support by appointment. Email cpc@collegeplanningcohort.com for schedule and details. Florence School District 3 students should contact Lake City Early College High School Guidance Counselor, Ms. Kendra Wilson: kwilson@fsd3.org.

Applying for Scholarships

Students may begin researching and applying for scholarships at any grade level. Some of our students were selected as Jack Kent Cooke Young Scholars during middle school. To support the scholarship aspirations of elementary, middle, and high school students, we have developed a self-guided online class, Applying for ScholarshipsOur staff will support students by responding to questions as students complete lessons guiding them through identifying, researching, and applying for scholarships.

One-on-One Support

Our goal is to meet every student’s needs in becoming successful students; successful college applicants; and successful scholarship recipients. Some students, particularly athletes, are unable to participate in our yearlong cohorts, and would best benefit from one-on-one or personalized college planning guidance. During the 2021-22 school year, we will be offering one-on-one guidance for students registered in our program and personalized college planning guidance for any student or parent with college or financial aid-related questions.

  • One-on-One Support: Available to students participating in our program, but who need support beyond our regular monthly cohort program. Sessions for provide 45 minutes – 1 hour consultations for students and parents on any college admissions or financial aid topic.
  • Personalized College Planning Guidance: Available to students who are not registered in our program, and who do not attend school in one of our partner school districts.

Volunteers interested in serving as Interns or Discussion Group Leaders should email: cpc@collegeplanningcohort.com

Please share with your friends, neighbors, coaches, counselors, and teachers. Every student deserves to have access to the best possible college planning guidance and support.

 
 

 

Newsletter: July 1, 2021

Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)

July 1, 2021 College Planning News

In our June newsletter, we reported that 16 (42.1%) of our Class of 2021 were offered full scholarships. Well, we can now report that 17 (44.7%) of our Class of 2021 were offered full scholarships! Tyra Grant, from our Atlanta-area Cohort received an email from Georgia Tech congratulating her on being selected as a Clark Scholar (together with a full scholarship).

Our program should not be compared to such programs as AVID, which is a college readiness program, or Naviance, which is a high school counselor management tool. Neither program is designed to provide college planning guidance in identifying the ‘right’ colleges, identifying the ‘right’ scholarships, or reducing student loan debt. Neither program can claim to guide students into full college scholarships, assist students in writing essays, preparing students for interviews, nominating students to Fly-in or Diversity Weekend Programs, or meeting one-on-one with students and parents to provide personalized guidance through the college admissions and financial aid processes. The reality is that our program has very little in common with these programs. Many of our students have participated in AVID and attend high schools that subscribe to Naviance. None of our students see any comparison whatsoever between our college planning program and those programs.

Based on our data, we are not aware of any college planning program with comparable success in guiding students into full scholarships and avoiding student loan debt. Nationally, less than 2% of students from the 26,727 public, private, and charter high schools in the United States (Source: National Center for Education Statistics) are attending college on full scholarships with some sources suggesting the number is much lower at .2% (Source: Full Ride Scholarships). The estimate for full athletic scholarships is .3% (Source: NCSA). In 2021, 44.7% of seniors in our program will be attending college on full scholarships, and that number is even higher when the students who turned down full scholarships are accounted for. To fully appreciate the extraordinary outcomes of our students, read the Washington Post article, “Your child probably won’t get a full ride to college.”

Program Updates

At the end of each year, we evaluate our results, identify student and family needs, assess changes in college admissions and financial aid, and adjust our programming accordingly. Based on this review, we have expanded our programming to offer:

  • 4-session Writing Workshop Series: Comprehensive guidance in developing college admission essays, scholarship essays, or supplemental essays. Participating students become better writers.
  • Applying for ScholarshipsComprehensive online classroom guiding students and parents in researching institutional and private scholarships best matched to students’ backgrounds and body of work.
  • Essay Writing Tutoring and Support: Comprehensive guidance, tutoring, and support for school papers, communication with colleges, and general writing needs for middle school and high school students.
  • Full-year College Planning Cohort (Grades 9 – 12): Comprehensive program of online instruction, virtual meetings, and small group discussions bringing students together from throughout the country for monthly all-virtual grade-level appropriate conversations in developing comprehensive college-bound action plans.
  • One-on-One Support: Available to students who have participated in our program, but who may not be able to attend our full-year college planning cohort program. Sessions for provide 45 in – 1 hour consultations for students and parents on any college admissions or financial aid topics.
  • Personalized College Planning Guidance: Available to students who are not registered in our program, and who do not attend school in one of our partner school districts.
  • Summer College Planning Boot Camps: Comprehensive insight into maximizing the 7-year middle-through-high school plans to make students the most competitive candidates possible for being offered admission to top colleges and being awarded large dollar scholarships.

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

College Planning Boot Camps

We hosted 2 great college planning boot camps for rising 9th graders in San Antonio, Texas, and will host 2 4-day college planning boot camps in July (for middle school and high school students). Each boot camp will provide grade-level appropriate guidance in developing a comprehensive college-bound plan. Click onto the boot camp for the registration link.

July 12 – 15 (9:00 am – 1:00 pm): 4-day all-virtual boot camp for High School Students in Grades 9 – 12Click here to register… Any high school student may register. The registration fee for students in Florence School District 3 and Pinellas County Schools is waived.

July 19 – 22 (9:00 am – 1:00 pm): 4-day all-virtual boot camp for Middle School Students in Grades 7 – 8Click here to register… Any middle school student may register. The registration fee for students in Florence School District 3 and Pinellas County Schools is waived.

2021-22 High School Senior Classroom

Our 2021-22 High School Senior Classroom opened on June 1. While we will not host our first monthly cohort meeting until the second Saturday in September, we will be reviewing student work, communicating via email, and meeting with students and parents, via virtual sessions, as needed.

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

Essay Writing Workshop Series

With the huge increase in applications to selective colleges, now, more than ever, a student’s essays can be the difference between being offered admission and receiving a rejection letter! We are excited to introduce a 4-part Essay Writing Workshop series, developed and presented by Mychal-David Wynn, a certified college counselor and graduate of Amherst College (BA English). The sessions are not part of our normal program and require a separate registration and are opened to all students. (Note: Registration fees for Pinellas County Schools and Florence School District 3 students are paid for by the school district.)

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

Topics will cover:

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

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

Join a Cohort

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

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

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

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

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

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Newsletter: June 1, 2021

Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)

June 1, 2021 College Planning News

The data is in and the decisions have been made for our Class of 2021. Pictured above are the final college choices for our high school seniors, for whom we had a great send off at our final cohort session of the 2020-21 school year. As we celebrate our students’ journey into the next phase of their lives, and congratulate them on their amazing achievements during enormous challenges and disruptions in learning and school related activities, in a year that was unlike any other.

Our 38 graduating seniors were offered:

  • Admission to over 500 colleges and universities including 8 of the top 10 research universities in the United States
  • Offered over $5 million in institutional and private scholarships
  • Offered 16 full scholarships (42.1%), over 20 times the national average of 2%
  • Ava Bingham was offered admission to the highly selective Nursing Program at Clemson University
  • Blaine Haddis was selected as a High Point University Presidential Scholar
  • Chandler Stevenson was selected as a GE – Reagan Foundation Scholar
  • Faith Kumi was selected as a University of Chicago Odyssey Scholar and as a Ron Brown Scholar
  • Haley Hardway was selected as a South Carolina Teaching Fellow
  • Jada Foote was selected as a North Carolina A&T Cheatham-White Scholar
  • Jaylon Oduro was selected as a University of Chicago Odyssey Scholar
  • Joanne Lioe (High School Junior) was selected as QuestBridge Scholar
  • Jordan Freeman was offered admission to the highly selective University of South California – School of Cinematic Arts
  • Khalil Felder was selected as an Xavier University of Louisiana Presidential Scholar
  • Samuel Patterson, III (College Senior) was selected as a University of Oxford – Rhodes Scholar
  • Sydnee Brothers was selected as a North Carolina A&T Dowdy Scholar
  • Whitney Williams (College Student) 5-member Spelman College team won the $1 million Goldman Sachs Market Madness Competition

Click here to download a copy of the Class of 2021 Senior Recognition Program.

Click here to download the Senior Recognition PowerPoint Presentation.

Summer Intern Opportunity

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

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

College Planning Boot Camps

We will host 5 summer college planning boot camps for middle school and high school students. Each boot camp will provide grade-level appropriate guidance in developing a comprehensive college-bound plan. Click onto the boot camp for the registration link.

June 7 – 10 (9:00 am – 1:00 pm): 4-day all-virtual boot camp for High School SeniorsClick here to register… Recommended for any rising high school senior who did not participate in our junior-year program.

June 14 – 18 (8:30 am – 2:30 pm): 5-day in-person boot camp for McKinney-Vento rising 9th graders in Judson ISD (TX). Contact Sylvia Greenwood (sgreenwood@judsonisd.org). Limited to 40 students. This boot camp is only opened to Judson ISD students.

June 21 – 25 (8:30 am – 2:30 pm): 5-day in-person boot camp for Military Connected rising 9th graders in Judson ISD (TX). Contact Sylvia Greenwood (sgreenwood@judsonisd.org). Limited to 40 students. This boot camp is only opened to Judson ISD students.

July 12 – 15 (9:00 am – 1:00 pm): 4-day all-virtual boot camp for High School Students in Grades 9 – 12Click here to register… Any high school student may register. The registration fee for students in Florence School District 3 and Pinellas County Schools is waived.

July 19 – 22 (9:00 am – 1:00 pm): 4-day all-virtual boot camp for Middle School Students in Grades 7 – 8Click here to register… Any middle school student may register. The registration fee for students in Florence School District 3 and Pinellas County Schools is waived.

2021-22 High School Senior Classroom

Our 2021-22 High School Senior Classroom opens today. While we will not host our first monthly cohort meeting until the second Saturday in September, however, we will be reviewing student work, communicating via email, and meeting with students and parents, via virtual sessions, as needed. Registered students will have the option of attending our June 7 – 10 high school senior boot camp where they can finalize their college application and scholarship plans and will have complimentary access to our June/July Essay Writing Workshops.

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

Essay Writing Workshop Series

With the huge increase in applications to selective colleges, now, more than ever, a student’s essays can be the difference between being offered admission and receiving a rejection letter! We are excited to introduce a 4-part Essay Writing Workshop series, developed and presented by Mychal-David Wynn, a certified college counselor and graduate of Amherst College (BA English). The sessions are not part of our normal program and require a separate registration and are opened to all students. (Note: Registration fees for Pinellas County Schools and Florence School District 3 students are paid for by the school district.)

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

Topics will cover:

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

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

Join a Cohort

ASA Guide Kappa League Mentoring Program: Contact Doug Lucas: dlucasjr@aol.comNote: ASA Guide Right rising seniors, must confirm their intentions to continue in our program with Mr. Lucas and attend the boot camp for high school seniors prior to being enrolled into the 2021-22 High School Senior Classroom.

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

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

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

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

 

Newsletter: May 1, 2021

Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)

May 1, 2021 College Planning Cohort News

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

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

Whitney Williams — Market Madness Winner

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

Faith Kumi – 2021 Ron Brown Scholar

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

Joanne Lioe – 2021 QuestBridge College Prep Scholar

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

Summer Intern Opportunity

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

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

Boot Camp Schedule

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

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

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

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

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

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

Senior Registration is Now Open

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

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

Essay Writing Workshop Series

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

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

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

Topics will cover:

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

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

May Meeting Schedule

Monthly Meeting Schedule: The second Saturday of each month.

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

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

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

Join a Cohort

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

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

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

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

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

 
 

Newsletter: April 1, 2021

Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)

Thank you Panelists

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

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

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

Grades 9 – 10

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

High School Juniors

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

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

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

High School Seniors

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

Boot Camp Schedule

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

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

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

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

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

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

Senior Registration is Now Open

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

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

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

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

Topics will cover:

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

Participating students will have their essays fully reviewed and edited.

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

April Meeting Schedule

Monthly Meeting Schedule: The second Saturday of each month.

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

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

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

Join a Cohort

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newsletter: March 1, 2021

Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)

Thank you Pinellas County Schools Panelists

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

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

Researching Colleges and Programs

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

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

Grades 9 – 10

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

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

Grades 11 – 12

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

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

Announcements

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March Meeting Schedule

Monthly Meeting Schedule: The second Saturday of each month.

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

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

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

Join a Cohort

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newsletter: February 1, 2021

Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)

Making History

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

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

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

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

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

Seniors

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

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

Grades 9 – 11

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

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

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

Congratulations

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

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

SAT/ACT Testing

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

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

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

Student/Parent Meetings

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

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

February Meeting Schedule

Monthly Meeting Schedule: The second Saturday of each month.

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

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

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

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

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

Want to Join a Cohort?

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

 

Newsletter: January 1, 2021

Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)

Vision and Clarity 

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


Exceptional Students

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

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

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

Congratulations to our Early Decision Cohort Students 

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

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

Full Scholarship Opportunities

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

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

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

Attention Seniors: Close Your Financial Aid Gaps

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

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

Grades 9 – 11

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

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

Please submit first semester report cards and update your Profiles.

Attention Parents

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

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

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

Facebook Postings…

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

Mark Your Calendar

Monthly Meeting Schedule:The second Saturday of each month.

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

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

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

Want to Join a Cohort?

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

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

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


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