November 1, 2021
Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)

We will miss you Dr. Bobby…

Khoi Hammonds, one of our students from Trinity, Alabama, lost her grandfather, Dr. Bobby Griffin on October 30, 2021. We met Khoi through her grandfather, who lived in Atlanta, Georgia and whom we fondly referred to as Dr. Bobby. Many of the families, who have become part of our cohort family, were introduced to us via a friend, relative, neighbor, or co-worker. Dr. Bobby was a co-worker of Ms. Kim Pope, a longtime friend and church member, whose son Darrin was one of the many students with whom we worked while serving as Education Ministry Leaders at Turner Chapel AME Church in Marietta, Georgia. Subsequently, Dr. Bobby introduced us to his extraordinarily talented granddaughter, Khoi. While we only recently met Khoi and her family, we feel a part of their family and share in their grief knowing there will be an empty seat at this year’s Thanksgiving gathering. However, we are comforted by our faith knowing that Dr. Bobby is looking down from Heaven and will be celebrating each college acceptance received by his granddaughter as we do our best to continue to assist her in the road ahead. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the Griffin and Hammonds families.

November 1 Early Action (EA) and Early Decision (ED) Deadlines

Many students will be applying to college today via Early Action or Early Decision. Despite our encouraging students to choose their admissions cycles and begin working on their college essays last June, many students will be under tremendous stress today as they rush to finalize their Common Application essay and writing prompts. We are here to support you and won’t even say, “We told you so!”

But what is the difference between applying to college via Early Action versus Early Decision?

  • Early Action (EA): A college admissions cycle through which applications receive “Early” consideration. Many colleges require students to apply via Early Action to be considered for their full range of institutional scholarships like the Stamps Scholars Program. Other colleges require students to apply via Early Action for priority consideration for their Honors Program, like Florida State UniversityNorth Carolina A&T State UniversityUniversity of South Carolina – Columbia, and the University of Maryland – Baltimore County. Some schools, like UMBC, require an Early Action application to be considered for their wide range of specialized programs and scholarships like the Cyber Scholars, Center for Women in Technology, Humanities Scholars, Sherman STEM Teacher Scholars, Linehan Artist Scholars, Sondheim Public Affairs Scholars, and the prestigious Meyerhoff Scholars.
  • Early Decision (ED): A college admissions cycle, like Early Action, through which applications receive “Early” decisions. However, unlike Early Action, Early Decision is a binding contract in which you agree to enroll if you are offered admission. Early Decision should only be used by students who have a clear top college choice; have thoroughly researched the college’s financial aid policy; believe themselves to a good academic match for the college’s programs and majors; and who are committed to enrolling should they be offered admission. Many of our students applying to highly selective schools have chosen to apply via Early Decision. For even the most academically accomplished student, Early Decision can be their best opportunity for being offered admission to a highly selective school.

No matter which admissions cycle a student chooses, they will benefit greatly from a well written Common Application essay and writing responses that provide a context for their overall application and makes a strong case as to why they are a good fit for the school and deserving of being offered admission.

Thank you… 

Thank you to University of Chicago student and college intern, Sydney Soskin, who has agreed to serve as the advisor to our youth leadership board and who served as the moderator for our Pinellas County Schools Title I Parent Presentation for rising middle school students. Thank you also to our youth leadership board members, Jocelyne L., Josiah W., and Anna N., who did an outstanding job on our student panel. Thank you to Ellen Truskowski, Pinellas County Schools Director of Student Demographics, Assignment, and School Capacity for her presentation regarding school choice. We are excited to expand the Pinellas County Schools – school choice conversation at our meeting in January when we hope to have a panel of middle school principals and a parent panel.

Thank you to Songhai Deveaux, who coordinated two wonderful college planning sessions for Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. Hopefully, their church members were inspired to begin a Friendship Missionary Baptist Church College Planning Cohort.

Thank you to all of the students who have demonstrated grit and worked through the September, October, and November activities. As a result of your efforts, our discussion groups have stabilized with groups of self-motivated students who are “Owning the Process” and submitting high quality work and engaging in thoughtful and deliberate monthly discussions.  

Thank you to Allyson Terry, from the University of Georgia, who was the guest speaker at our October cohort meeting. Ms. Terry provided invaluable insight into selective college admissions in general, and into the admissions process at UGA in particular. Even as a public university, the University of Georgia admissions data provides a clear example of why students must enter high school “Owning the Process” and setting clear academic goals aligned with their college and career aspirations.

Saturday, November 13, 2021
November College Planning Cohort Meeting

We will host our third meeting of the 2021-22 school year at 10:00 am on Saturday, November 13, 2021. Our guest speaker will be Dr. Yen Duong, Mathematician, Writer, and Feminist. I first met Dr. Duong while serving as a moderator for the webinar, The Hidden Norms: Navigating the Obstructive Rules in the Mathematical Sciences. I was fascinated by Dr. Duong’s non-traditional career pathways in STEM.

Dr. Duong graduated from the Troy High School IB Program in Fullerton, California, is a graduate of Yale, and has a PhD from the University of Illinois in Chicago. She will be providing insight into selective college admissions, nontraditional STEM pathways, and unique opportunities for women and students of color. Dr. Duong has been a guest speaker at the University of Chicago Women in Mathematics Symposium, UNC Chapel Hill Science Writing and Communications Club, and Davidson Math/Computer Science Coffee Series. 

In addition to Dr. Duong, our November cohort meeting will provide students with the opportunity to share the results of their Myers-Briggs Personality Type assessment and Interest Profile. Through the personality type assessment, students are able to plan their involvement in high school clubs and activities in a manner through which they continue to pursue exceptionality through activities for which their personality is the best fit. The Interest Profile is a good instrument for exposing students to careers aligned with their interest. Together, the two assessments guide students through the process of assessing if previously affirmed career aspirations are consistent with their personality type and interest profile, or, if other types of careers which may not have previously been under consideration, are more suited to who they are and what they enjoy doing. This is why we believe Dr. Duong to be the perfect speaker, who has discovered pathways merging her personality with her interest in STEM.

College Cohort Presentation Award Goes To… 

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. 

Congratulations to the following students whose presentations were nominated for our College Cohort Presentation Award for October:

9th – 10th Grade Cohort:

  • Bryce E. – ASA Guide Right Cohort
  • Griffin S. – Pinellas County Schools Cohort
  • Jocelyne L. – Pinellas County Schools Cohort
  • Nishan W. – ASA Guide Right Cohort

Jocelyne L., a 9th grader from the St. Petersburg High School IB Program in St. Petersburg, Florida is the recipient of the October 9th – 10th Grade College Planning Cohort Presentation Award. Jocelyne notes in her response to the question, “What has become clearer to me?”

“Through this module, I became more aware of the complexity of my gifts and talents, which areas I need to work on, and the goals I need to set for the future—strengthening my gifts and overcoming my weaknesses. I understand where and how I can improve and progress as well as the steps I need to complete. By creating a detailed plan, I now have a clearer view of how to maximize the opportunities available at my high school and my overall high school experience.” 

11th Grade Cohort:

  • Jayla J. – Florence County School District 3 Cohort
  • Wa’Dasja H. – Pinellas County Schools Cohort

Jayla J., an 11th grader from Lake City Early College High School in Lake City, South Carolina is the recipient of the October 11th Grade College Planning Cohort Presentation Award. Jayla notes in her response to the question, “What has become clearer to me?”

“My gifts and talents are something I am constantly working on to improve. While I know what my strengths are, there are still things that I can do to become even better. I chose to focus on the verbal/linguistic and musical/rhythmic intelligences because those are the intelligences I believe to best represent my passions and in which I am most gifted.

I will continue developing my gifts to create a strong body of work and further become a competitive college applicant.”

Each of these presentations has been inserted into the final unit for October. Please refer to them as an example to guide your efforts as you update your November presentations and develop your December presentations. While presentations are due by the final day of each month to qualify for being assigned to a discussion group, you have nearly two weeks prior to the monthly meeting to update your presentation.

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 December’s Module on Saturday, November 13, 2021, the day of our November cohort meeting. 

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

  • Tuesday, November 30, 2021 (11:59 pm): December presentations due.
  • Wednesday, December 1, 2021: Next round of Early Action and Early Decision College Application Deadlines.
  • Saturday, December 11, 2021 (10:00 am – Noon): Our December Cohort Meeting. Stephanie Gonzalez, former Associate Director of Admissions for Diversity Recruitment at Williams College and the current Associate Director of College Counselors at the Trinity School will be our guest speaker. Ms. Gonzalez will provide a further context for pursuing exceptionality and the many ways in which students can position themselves as exceptional college applicants. The Meeting ID is: 884 7893 8939.

Reminder: Be sure to check your email as we regularly forward emails regarding summer programs, college fairs, and pre-college opportunities.

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

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