Newsletter: October 1, 2019
October 1, 2019
Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)
Welcome to Our College Planning Cohort Program
We are excited to welcome new students and families to our ASA Guide Right, Atlanta-area, Crossroads for Teens, Florence County School District 3, Guilford County Schools, Pinellas County Schools, Turner Chapel AME Church, and United Ghana Christian Church Cohorts. We are equally excited to be working with students in California, Texas, and Indiana through our online program. Our program is a family affair, where we are working together to assist students in expanding their college and scholarship options.
Congratulations to Sydney and Sydney
Sydney S. and Sydney B. from our Guilford County Schools Cohort continue to receive all-expenses paid Fly-in invitations from some of the country’s most selective colleges:
- University of Richmond
- Washington & Lee
Fly-in Programs are highly competitive and require high quality applications and well written essays. Students invited to Fly-in Programs, are in essence, recruited students. Paying travel expenses for 200 students to visit a campus, and hosting them for a weekend, is a significant financial investment. Consequently, receiving a Fly-in invitation can increase a student’s chances of being offered admission to a selective college from less than 20% to over 90%! Sydney S., just visited Bowdoin and Williams, and pictured here is Sydney B., who will be on her way to a Fly-in visit to Washington and Lee. The two Sydneys provide an example for current high school juniors of the importance of identifying and matching to the right Fly-in opportunities, with many applications opening during the spring of your junior year of high school.
High School Seniors
We encourage you to step up your game! Despite our constant prodding, many of you are far behind in finalizing your College Application Plans, choosing your essay topic, writing your essays, requesting recommendation letters from the ‘right’ teachers, and identifying the institutional scholarships for which you are the most competitive. Those of you who have not reached the SAT/ACT scores needed to be offered admission to your colleges, must refocus your attention on either Community College or Test Optional Colleges. It is time to finalize your Action Plans.
Today is the opening of the FAFSA filing period. Most colleges and universities will require that students submit a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) prior to being considered for financial aid, including need-based grants and scholarships. Some schools will begin distributing their FSEOG funding as completed FAFSAs are received, so submit your FAFSA as soon as possible! Mark your calendar for one of our FAFSA sessions in your area. Modules 13 and 14 in the 2019/20 High School Senior Classroom provide complete guidance to completing the FAFSA and CSS/Profile.
Today is the application deadline for the Engineering Fly-in opportunity at the Voices of Tufts Diversity Experience. The Arts and Sciences application deadline is October 8, 2019.
As a Community-based Partner with Smith College, we can provide students interested in applying to Smith College with CSS/Financial Aid Profile fee waivers. The deadlines to apply for financial aid are November 15 for Early Decision I, January 2 for Early Decision II, and January 25 for Regular Decision. If you are planning to apply and would like a CSS/Profile fee waiver, contact us.
US News profiled 8 students from one of our local high schools (Roswell High School, Roswell, GA) in the article, “How 8 Georgia Students Made Their College Choices.” What most struck me about the article was the college planning components that were not mentioned, i.e., Net Price Calculator, College Match, The Common Data Set, Fly-in Programs, and most importantly, matching to institutional and full scholarship opportunities. However, I was pleased to see that the class valedictorian, Sameer Khan, was offered admission to Amherst College, where our Guilford County Schools Cohort student, Brenna K., is now a 2nd-year, and found his way to Williams College, where our Georgia Cohort students Kimberly H. and Loren T. are now 3rd-year and 2nd-year students respectively. We are going to contact US News and suggest an article, “How 8 College Planning Cohort Students Made Their Way into Full Scholarship Opportunities.” (University of Richmond, Amherst College, Northeastern University, Northwestern University, Claflin Honors College, UMBC, Williams College, and Elon University)
High School Juniors
To better assist you in avoiding the challenges confronting so many of our current high school seniors, who are struggling with finding the time to finalize their College Application Plans, we will be streamlining our modules for high school juniors to provide step-by-step guidance through your college and scholarship research, within the context of the college list and school-year goals that you developed in the October Module, “Setting Goals within a College Context.” The timeline will be focused on finalizing your College Application Plans by June, 2020. If you know any high school juniors who are in need college planning guidance, particularly those who are academically accomplished, encourage them to register as we will no longer be registering high school juniors after November 1.
Plan to attend the 11th Annual Turner Chapel AME Church College Fair on Saturday, October 26, 2019 from Noon – 3:00 pm. I will be kicking off the college fair with a Pre-college Fair Workshop, “Show Me the Money: Scholarships, Financial Aid, and Making the Right College Choice,”from 11:00 am – Noon. Each year, over 2,000 students and parents take advantage of the opportunity to speak with college representatives and college planning advisers. Over 50 colleges will be represented, including Harvard, Duke, MIT, UGA, and many HBCUs. Some schools will offer on-the-spot scholarships so be sure to bring copies of your résumé, transcript, and SAT/ACT Score Reports.
October Discussion Topics
Students in Grades 9 – 11: Please bring copies of your My Narrative Document, Résumé, 4-year High School Schedule, and Common Data Set Table. Be prepared to share your narrative responses to the 4 Guiding Questions for the October Module – Setting Goals Within a College Context:
- What type of grades, course taking, and test scores do you believe are expected by the type of colleges to which you would like to apply for admission?
- After reviewing the Common Data Set for each of your colleges, how does your planned course schedule compare to the type of classes and level of rigor recommended by each of your colleges?
- Are you planning to take the most rigorous classes offered? If yes, why? If no, why not? Are you planning to take electives relating to your gifts and talents, such as music, art, computer programming? If no, why not? What academic honors are you pursuing?
- Which test does your school or school district support? Will you focus your test taking strategy on the SAT or ACT? What is your test preparation strategy (describe in detail)?
Thank you to Atlanta-area Cohort Student, Faith K., for her insightful response to the September Guiding Question:
Writing Prompt – Why Am I Here?: Are you intrinsically motivated to be here, or are you here because of a parent, counselor, teacher, coach, or friend? If you have participated in our program previously, why have you returned? What do you want to gain from your involvement in our program, such as expanding your college options; expanding your scholarship options; or taking a more intentional role in guiding your high school journey through activities, leadership, service, or course taking?
“I am intrinsically motivated to be a part of this cohort program because my goal is to go to law school and through this I have to get my undergrad, pass my LSAT, and be offered admission to law school. This may take a total of 7 years and I want to learn the best way to go about this so that I don’t accumulate debt and have to take out a lot of loans. This is my second year participating in the program, and honestly from last year my mom gave me the option to quit and asked if I still wanted to come back this year and I honestly did want to! I am motivated this year to take it seriously and with this program I want to have scholarship options, leadership opportunities, and overall insight for what I can do to make myself a competitive college candidate.” — Faith K., Atlanta-area Cohort
As a high school junior, Faith’s response provides insight into an important consideration that too few students of color are factoring into their college planning—avoiding student loan debt. The Business Insider article, “8 startling facts that show just how hard the student-debt crisis is hurting black Americans,” notes that 86.6% of black students are using student loans to pay for college and that black students attending HBCUs are graduating with 32% more student loan debt than their black peers at PWIs. Perhaps if more school districts adopted Faith’s attitude, “We don’t want our students to accumulate debt and have to take out a lot of loans,” they would be more supportive of our efforts to expose our program to more students.
Get a Jump Start on Preparing for the November Discussion Topics
Grades 9 – 11: Bring copies of your My Narratives and Careers and College Majors documents and be prepared to discuss your narrative responses to the 4 Guiding Questions for the November Module – Careers and College Majors:
- What are the scores from your Interest Profile?
- What careers are associated with your profile?
- What career are you most interested in and what did you learn from researching this career?
- What are the best colleges for your career or college major?
Get Your Questions Answered
As our program expands, we rely on cohort facilitators from our partners to respond to student questions during monthly meetings and in their round table discussions. However, questions may be submitted to us under the following guidelines:
- Questions should be emailed, by registered students, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The subject line should identify the online class, module, and unit: “Question: 9-10 Grade: Module 1: Unit 2.”
- The body of the email should contain your question: “I do not fully understand the differences between AP and dual enrollment classes.”
- The email must contain the student’s email signature.
- Students in grades 9 – 11: Questions must pertain to currently assigned units.
- Seniors: Questions may pertain to any module or unit.
- Questions must be submitted by the 21st of the month.
- We will respond by the last day of the month to the entire classroom.
For example, if a student in our 9th-10th grade program, raises a question, we will summarize our responses to all questions presented by students in our 9th-10th program during October and send an email to all registered 9th-10th graders by the final day of October.
Important Dates and Deadlines
- FAFSA Filing Period Opens 10/1/19
- Coca-Cola Scholars Program 10/31/19
- Cook Foundation College Scholarship Program 11/13/19
Mark Your Calendar
Friday, October 4, 2019: Florence County School District 3 Cohort meeting in the Lake City High School College Corner throughout the day (8:30 am – 4:00 pm).
Saturday, October 5, 2019:Florence County School District 3 • FAFSA Completion in the School Board Room at the School District Offices (9:30 am – 4:00 pm). All seniors and parents are invited to attend.
Sunday, October 5, 2019:United Ghana Christian Church Cohort (10:00 am – 12:30 pm).
Saturday, October 12, 2019:Pinellas County Schools FAFSA Completion • Lakewood High School (Media Center) • 1400 54th Ave, S • St. Petersburg, FL (9:00 am – 2:00 pm). All high school students and parents are invited to attend.
Sunday, October 13, 2019:Atlanta-area Cohort grades 9 – 12. Turner Chapel AME Church • 492 N. Marietta Pkwy • Marietta, GA (11:30 am – 12:45 pm). Parents are invited to attend the worship service (9:30 am) and high school juniors and seniors are invited to attend The Next Episode (9:30 am – a Teen Bible Study held in the Boardroom).
Sunday, October 13, 2019:Crossroads for Teens Cohort grades 9 – 12. Johnson Ferry Baptist Church • Marietta, GA (3:00 pm – 4:30 pm).
Saturday, October 19, 2019:Guilford County Schools Cohort: Seniors (9:00 am – Noon); Juniors (Noon – 3:00 pm). Bring copies of students’ transcripts and SAT/ACT Score Reports. GTCC Greensboro Campus.
Saturday, October 19, 2019:ASA Guide Right Cohort • Fortis College (9:00 am).
Saturday, October 26, 2019: 10th Annual FREE Turner Chapel AME Church College Fair will host over 50 colleges, community organizations, fraternities, sororities, and workshops. (Noon – 3:00 pm). Mychal Wynn will present a Pre-college Fair Workshop from 10:30 am – Noon on issues raised in, “Show Me the Money: Scholarships, Financial Aid, and Making the Right College Choice.”
Join a Cohort: Register Now
Our online registration is only open to students interested in joining our Atlanta-area Cohort or working independently through our online classroom. Students participating in a school district or community partner should register with their program facilitator.
New Students who will be joining our Atlanta-area Cohort or participating in our online program, can register at the following links:
Click here to register for returning students (who participated in our 2018/19 cohort).