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.