College Planning Boot Camps
Setting Goals and Developing School-year Action Plans
College Planning Boot Camps in Action
- Judson ISDRising 10th Grader"It's not just academics"
- Pinellas County SchoolsHigh School Senior"I want to attend an HBCU"
- Florence County School District 3Lake City High School Students"Thank you for the opportunity."
- Judson ISDRising First Gen 9th Grader"If I weren't here, I would still be lost"
- Pinellas County SchoolsParents of Rising Seniors"You delivered on your promise"
- Pinellas County SchoolsHigh School Senior and Parent"Energized and excited"
- Judson ISDRising 9th Grader"I'm going to challenge myself to my full potential"
- Judson ISDRising 9th Grader"This is the best teamwork that I have ever done"
- Paragon Charter AcademyMiddle School StudentsStudent Presentations
- Judson ISDRising 9th GradersStudent Presentations
- Austin ISDMiddle School StudentsStudent Presentations
- Atlanta-areaRising Seniors"You must own the process"
Pre-Registration Opens May 1, 2024
Cost: The registration fee is waived for students attending Florence School District 3 (Lake City, South Carolina). All other students must purchase a registration and indicate in the instructions if you plan to attend the morning or evening sessions.
Virtual College Planning Boot Camps
Ideally, students should be exposed to colleges and careers during elementary school and enter middle school with 7-year college bound plans. These action plans should be focused on developing each student’s gifts and talents, maximizing their academic potential, engaging students in service and leadership activities, and maximizing the opportunities within their schools and local communities to develop their social, emotional, and intellectual faculties.
Students, like Pinellas County Schools middle school students pictured above, should enter high school with 4-year academic, extracurricular activity, community service, and leadership action plans, together with clearly-defined personal goals. These goals should be conceptualized within a college/career context as to maximize each student’s 2 million high school minutes.
Rising high school seniors should enter their senior year of high school as the final year of their 7-year middle-through-high school plan. Visit our College Planning Cohort Timeline webpage for a comprehensive overview of the college planning activities that should have been completed by high school juniors prior to the end of the school year. Our College Planning Boot Camp Program provides a means of engaging students during each of the critical summers between the beginning of 6th grade and the beginning of their final year of high school to best assist students in strategically expanding college access and scholarship opportunities.
While our boot camps are beneficial for any student, like the rising 9th graders from Judson ISD (Universal City, TX) pictured above, they are particularly important in closing the college knowledge gap experienced by students from lower income backgrounds, those who will be the first in their family to attend college, and students from immigrant groups who lack the knowledge of effectively navigating the U.S. K – 12 educational system in preparation for pursuing college and careers.
The curriculum, daily presentations, and small group discussions are intentional and focused. What distinguishes college planning from college readiness or college exposure, are the intended outcomes. The intended outcome of successful engaging students in college planning is for students to emerge from the process with a plan, albeit a 7-year plan for a rising 6th grader or a 4-year plan for a rising 9th grader.
Following is the introductory slide and the summary slide from the college planning document created by a rising 9th grader from a military connected family who attended our 2021 Judson ISD boot camp for rising 9th graders. The slides contained between the introduction and the summary represents the student’s plan, which was shared with other students attending the boot camp. Each student’s college-bound plan is supported by a narrative document and supporting forms reflecting the research, critical thinking, and step-by-step actions conceptualized as the pathway to successfully pursuing his or her college/career aspirations.
Dear Dr. Brinson and Mr & Mrs. Wynn, I would like to share how much your College Planning Bootcamp program gave my middle school and high school daughters such a big impact in their mindset about their education and future. They will be the first generation in our family who are going to graduate from college. This is really a big deal for me as a parent, who does not really know how to help their kids to be reaching their highest potential to prepare them for college. Just thinking about the cost to go to college, it’s just a pipe dream for my family. It’s just impossible. This camp gave us hope and showed us the possibility for my daughters to fulfill their dreams. From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for giving the opportunity for my daughters to attend your camp.Parent of 7th and 9th Graders
For my daughter, I feel this experience assisted greatly in cementing the focus to get a higher education. She loves the arts and theater, your program made her more focused and determined to map out a true course of action and the importance of maintaining her GPA.Parent of 7th Grader
The times were a hard fast 0900hrs to 1400hrs daily from Monday to Thursday. I dropped my son off and picked him up personally everyday. In the mornings, someone was available to welcome the students at least by 0830hrs. Breakfast was even provided. Afterwards the parents were encouraged to leave and allow students freedom to develop the necessary skills on their own. The instructors made the students engage in dialogue and introspection. I carefully monitored my child's behavior before and after each session. What I noticed was a shift in readiness and eagerness as the week progressed. A standard had to be set. Once the Boot Camp Proctors established an expectation, the kids were able to adjust and propel themselves forward. Listening to the speeches the students gave at the closing ceremony justified driving roundtrip from Clearwater to St. Pete twice each day. My son is an Honor Roll student, and he left the program saying he felt he needed to do better in school. His knowledge base increased about post-secondary education, scholarships, and career options. He came away talking about a backup plan if his first choice fell short. In closing, all I can do is applaud Pinellas County Schools, Dr. Lewis Brinson, Mr. & Mrs. Mychal Wynn & staff, for the foresight and mindset to provide our middle school students with a vision of success.Parent of Middle School Student
We felt the boot camp was extremely valuable, helpful, informative and necessary. Too many of our scholars are unaware of the steps that are necessary before attending college and are somewhat clueless about preparing before it is too late. Our daughters did not realize the value of a résumé until they attended the boot camp. They are now familiar with some of the requirements that are needed to get into the college or university of their choice. They also have a pathway to guide them along the way throughout their middle and high school years.Parent of Middle School Student
The College Planning Boot Camp was so valuable for my daughter. She has gained so much knowledge about the college process. She also got an opportunity to learn about her personality and her learning style. It gave her an opportunity to research colleges based on her interests. She is now familiar with a résumé and she knows what classes and extracurricular activities she needs to take to boost up her résumé and her chances in pursuing a college career. Thank you so much for this opportunity.Parent of Middle School Student
My daughter was excited to come home each day to tell her family how her day was. It was very beneficial for her. She discussed how she learned how to create a résumé for college and what should be included. She didn't know that you have to write an essay to get into a college. She learned how it's important to start looking now for colleges of interest and how much it cost to attend. She now understands the importance of earning scholarships. This is just to name a few; however, it was very beneficial and I would recommend anyone to sign their child up who have plans on attending a college or university. Parent of Middle School Student