Newsletter: October 1, 2020
Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)
In our September virtual sessions, students in grades 8 – 11 were introduced to their Discussion Leader and to students on their grade level from throughout the country. Our goal is to keep these small group discussions consistent from month-to-month such that students may find a comfortable space to engage in the type of “Conversational Community” being cultivated by the country’s most selective colleges and universities; spaces where students’ voices are valued and where there is a free flowing exchange of ideas and opinions. We believe that the value of our curriculum is revealed through how students process that they learn, develop strategies, and set goals to operationalize their strategies.
The final unit in each monthly module guides students in creating a presentation in response to the question, “What has become clearer to me?” In September, 8th graders completed an Interest Profile to guide their college and career research; students in grades 9 – 11 conceptualized strategies to maximize strengths and strengthen weaknesses; high school seniors finalized their college admissions strategy. Small group discussions were guided by a great group of volunteers, high school interns, and college interns representing Bowdoin College, George Washington University, Spelman College, and the University of Chicago.
Each month, we will select a slide from one of our students’ final presentation (grades 8 – 11) to profile in the newsletter. While we reviewed many well done final presentations for September, we have selected a slide from a Pinellas County Schools’ 8th grader for this month’s newsletter. We believe that Savannah makes strong connections between her passions for acting, singing, reading, and baking with her college and career aspirations. The depth of her thinking, manner in which she engaged in her research, and the clarity of thought demonstrated through the goals that she has set for high school, are evident in her summary:
“My current college and career focus is to attend Brown University on a full scholarship and graduate with a PhD in education. Then I want to teach either special education or theater in elementary school. I want to graduate high school with all A’s and as valedictorian or salutatorian of my high school class as Brown is one of the 8 Ivy League schools and very selective in its admission policies. I want to continue performing in theater and singing. I hope to build a strong résumé of academic achievement, leadership, and service throughout high school and graduate within the top 5% of my class, if I miss my goal of valedictorian or salutatorian. I want to continue babysitting and Girl Scouts as well as my community service and earn by Girl Scout Gold Award.”
Since our virtual sessions are not opened to the general public, all students, parents, interns, mentors, counselors, volunteers, and school district personnel and community partners must complete their Zoom registration in advance, and for each session. The Zoom registration links are sent via email and may not be shared with people who are not part of the aforementioned groups. When completing the registration, you must provide a complete name and identify your affiliation with our program, i.e., student, parent, school district personnel, etc.
Saturday, October 10, 2020: 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
We will host a special October Session for high school students (grades 9 – 12) on Saturday, October 10, 2020, from 10:00 am – 12:30 pm. We will have a special presentation by admissions officers from Cornell University. Cornell, a private research university and one of the 8 Ivy League institutions, is made up of 7 undergraduate colleges. While we regret not having our small group discussions, we believe it critically important for our high school seniors, many of whom are planning to submit Early Decision applications, to hear from admissions officers at one of the country’s top ranked research universities. The discussion will touch on such topics as selective college admissions, how applications are reviewed, the potential advantages of applying Early Decision, and the importance of essays and teacher recommendations within the context of your college application package. Cohort students and parents are required to confirm their participation in this session prior to midnight on Thursday, October 8, 2020. While the information is particularly relevant for high school seniors, we believe that understanding what admissions officers at selective schools are looking for in prospective students can assist any student in planning their high school trajectory.
Students and parents may submit questions to us, via email, by midnight on Sunday, October 4, 2020.
Saturday, October 17, 2020: 10:00 – Noon
The monthly session for 8th graders will provide an overview of the October Module: High School Research, in which students research high schools and high school programs aligned with their gifts, talents, interests, college, and career aspirations. Students will have the opportunity to share their final presentations in their discussion groups. Students and parents are required to confirm their participation in this session prior to midnight on Thursday, October 15, 2020. A reminder that students in attendance during the September session agreed to recruit one student as a demonstration of leadership and service.
Saturday, October 24, 2020: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
The FAFSA Assistance Session will assist high school seniors and parents in completing the FAFSA and CSS Profile. Students and parents should be prepared with their 2019 federal tax information, driver’s license, and social security number. The session will provide step-by-step guidance through the FAFSA completion process. High school seniors and parents are required to confirm their participation in this session prior to midnight on Thursday, October 22, 2020.
Today marks the opening of the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) filing period for high school seniors and current college students seeking financial aid for the 2021/22 academic year. Students and parents will use information from their 2019 federal tax returns to complete the FAFSA and use additional information regarding assets, including home ownership, savings, and retirement accounts to complete the CSS/Profile, required by many private colleges and universities. While completing the FAFSA can be frustrating, if not intimidating for high school seniors and parents, it should not be delayed for many reasons, including:
- Many colleges allocate their financial aid resources, including FSEOG funding, on a first-come first-served basis.
- Some FAFSA applications are ‘Selected for Verification’ which can delay the process.
- Some schools request noncustodial parent information, which can further delay the process.
- While all need-based financial aid considerations are based on the FAFSA, some merit-based scholarships, such as athletic scholarships, require the submission of a FAFSA as well.
- Some schools will require a copy of the student’s and parents’ IRS Transcript prior to finalizing a student’s financial aid package.
- A student can only list up to ten colleges on their FAFSA. Consequently, students applying to more colleges than 10 colleges must submit a FAFSA to 10 colleges; wait for the FAFSA to process; replace the colleges with additional colleges; and submit the FAFSA again. This process must be repeated for any updates to a student’s FAFSA or as a result of the verification process.
Even students from high income families who will not qualify for need-based financial aid are required to complete the FAFSA in order to qualify for low-interest federally backed student loans.
We are excited to welcome back our First Generation College Student Ambassadors (Guilford County Schools) and welcome high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors from Florence County School District 3 (SC). We are also excited to be working closely with school counselors: Ms. Haynes, Ms. McDaniels, and Ms. Wilson in Florence County School District 3.
If you do not attend school in one of our partner districts, you may still join our program from anywhere in the United States: Click here to register…
Nationally Recognized | 2020 Magna Award First Place Winner | National School Boards Association. 2020 Full Scholarships: Appalachian State; Benedict; Bowdoin; Carleton; Claflin; Johnson & Wales; North Carolina A&T; North Carolina Central; Tuskegee; UNC – Pembroke; University of Chicago; Wake Forest; and Williams.