College Planning Cohorts (TM)

Expanding College and Scholarship Opportunities

College Planning Cohorts (TM)

College Planning Cohorts (TM) provide the most direct pathway to reducing college costs and avoiding student loan debt by making the right college 'fit' defined as the college which is best aligned with a student's academic preparation, career interests, and financial need. Students learn how to identify, research, and apply for scholarships; how to identify colleges offering institutional grants and scholarships; how to write 'winning' essays; and how to develop a 'high quality' self-presentation to expand students' college admission and scholarship opportunities.

2017 Guilford County Schools Cohort student, Brenna Kaplan, and her mother, share their experiences of participating in the year-long cohort activities resulting in Brenna's selection as a QuestBridge Finalist and admission to Amherst College, with a generous need-based financial aid package valued at $252,560 over four years. Brenna's story perfectly profiles the journey of many cohort students who discover previously unknown college and scholarship opportunities. After exploring liberal arts colleges, research institutions, cooperative education programs, and honors colleges, Brenna's journey to Amherst College was well informed and clearly conceived. Amherst is a perfect fit for a student who wants to learn on the deepest level and engage in Amherst's conversation community.

2017 Florence County School District 3 Cohort student, Damian Lee (pictured here), was nominated by Mychal Wynn, CEO/Founder of the Foundation for Ensuring Access and Equity, for the SallieMae "Bridging the Dream Scholarship." On Tuesday, November 17, 2017, after receiving the 'Key to the City' from Lake City Mayor, Lovith Anderson, Jr., Damian received the news from SallieMae representatives that he was selected as one of five students from throughout the country to be awarded the $25,000 SallieMae Bridging the Dream Scholarship. We have also connected Damian with admissions officers at George Washington University, his top college choice, where he hopes to begin his journey toward becoming an attorney and pursuing political office to make a difference on the local and national stage.

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Do You Have a Plan?

Students who enter high school without giving serious thought to developing a college-bound plan are at risk of incurring thousands of dollars in student loan debt as graduating high school seniors. We see this each year with high school seniors in school districts throughout the country. Parents and their students are scrambling around, AFTER, students have been accepted into college trying to find scholarship money to pay for college. While the 3 students profiled here, come from different demographic backgrounds and attend school in different states, they each have, or are developing college-bound plans. Breana's plan has been realized with her $62,000 per year financial aid offer from Amherst College; Damian $25,000 SallieMae Bridging the Dream Scholarship is one of the many scholarships that he is likely to land; and as a 9th grader, Tyra--a 2-sport varsity athlete, 4.0 GPA, and newly inducted member of the Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project is well positioned to develop a 4-year high school plan that will yield many admission and scholarship offers.

Failing to plan is planning to fail.