Our college planning cohort program focuses on expanding each student’s understanding of the ‘Body of Work’ that is required to become a competitive candidate for being offered admission to colleges, and the necessary scholarships to pay for college. In essence, by the end of each student’s junior year of high school, he or she will have developed a body of work (i.e., coursework, grades, test scores, leadership, service, gifts and talents, and experiences), which will determine college and scholarship trajectories. For one student, their academic achievements (i.e., coursework, grades, test scores, and academic honors and awards) will determine opportunities for being offered merit-based scholarships, admission to selective colleges, and, based on family income, potentially thousands of dollars in need-based financial aid. For another student, their gifts and talents in athletics, the performing and creative arts, or leadership and service will determine opportunities for being offered merit-based scholarships for a broad range of areas beyond academics, and possibly being offered admission to selective colleges. For example, our older son was a good student academically, with rigorous coursework, good grades, and good test scores. However, it was his leadership, service, art portfolio, and being a 3-sport varsity athlete that contributed to his being offered admission to Amherst College and a generous need-based financial aid package. Another one of our cohort students, had such impressive academic credentials with a perfect 4.0 GPA, 33 on the ACT, number 2 class ranking, membership in several academic honor societies, and having taken the most rigorous classes offered at her high school, as well as being from a lower income family and first in her family to attend college, was offered over $2.5 million in institutional scholarships, including full scholarships to Vanderbilt, Duke, Washington & Lee, Princeton, Williams, and Amherst.

While the body of work for some students will make them competitive candidates for being offered invitations to diversity weekends; the body of work for other students will make them recruited athletes; and the body of work for other students will make their least expensive college pathway, and possibly most direct career pathway, through a technical of community college. According the National Center for Education Statistics report, “The Condition of Education: 2017:” 

  • Of the 3 million high school graduates, 69 percent (2.1 million) will enroll into college in the fall immediately following high school
  • 44 percent of high school graduates enroll into 4-year colleges and universities
  • 25 percent of high school graduates enroll into 2-year technical or community colleges
  • 8 out of 10 students from high income families enroll into college, while only 6 out of 10 students from low income families enroll into college
  • 40 percent of young adults, ages 18 – 24 are enrolled in college. The percentages by racial group are:
    • 6 out of 10 percent of Asian youth
    • 4 out of 10 percent of White youth
    • 3 out of 10 Hispanic youth
    • 3 out of 10 Black youth
    • 2 out of 10 Pacific Islander youth
    • 2 out of 10 Native American youth

As a result of the diversity of students participating in our cohort program, students are only expected to complete those activities pertaining to their background and desired postsecondary trajectories. For example, students who qualify as asylum seekers and refugees should complete the activity identifying resources for such students. Students who are interested in attending an HBCU (Historically Black College or University) or HSI (Hispanic Serving Institution) should complete those activities.

If you are a high school junior, choose among the activities provided in this module that are most aligned with your body of work, and the pathway that you want to pursue after high school. If you are a student in grades 9 – 10, choose among the activities that you believe to be aligned with your expected body of work by the end of your junior year of high school, your family’s financial need, and the pathway that you hope to pursue after high school.


Consider your high school course schedule, diversity weekend opportunities, and pathway after high school within the context your body of work, educational and career aspirations, and family’s financial need.

Estimated time to complete: Undetermined.

Guiding Questions

  • Based on your preliminary college list, what are the course taking opportunities that you should be pursuing?
  • Based on your body of work, what changes should you make to your future course schedule or college list?
  • Based on your educational and career aspirations, what type of colleges (i.e., 2-year or 4-year), programs, or scholarships should you be pursuing?