College Planning Cohorts (TM)
The College Planning Cohort Program (TM) is the intellectual property of Mychal Wynn, and is supported by the Foundation for Ensuring Access and Equity, a Georgia-based nonprofit and Rising Sun Publishing, the sole source of Mychal Wynn's college planning books and materials. The program is 'Research-responsive,' by providing books, materials, lesson plans, and presentations, which are responsive to the latest research regarding college planning, readiness, preparation, and access.
Navigating college admissions, understanding financial aid, and identifying the necessary scholarships to assist with the huge costs associated with attending college is a daunting task. High school counselors are often responsible for 200 - 500 students or more, and in extreme situations may be responsible for as many as 1,000 students ('The High School Guidance Counselor Shortage' Pratt 2013). Many counselors openly acknowledge that they spend as little as 22 percent of their time assisting students with college planning and nearly 1 million students have no contact with school counselor ('Undervaluing of School Counselors' Murphy 2016). Working with such a huge number of students, it is unlikely that counselors can provide hands-on and longterm college planning and scholarship guidance to individual students, particularly those who are most in need, such as students from lower-income backgrounds, students who will be the first in their family to attend college, students who are immigrants or undocumented, and students who are simply overwhelmed with the college planning process.
Provides Guidance and Insight
College Planning Cohorts (TM) are designed to compliment the role, or fill the void, of high school counselors by assisting students and families with developing 'Strategies' to maximize the K - 12 experience, become competitive applicants for gaining admission into the 'right' colleges, and qualifying for the 'right' scholarships. After having developed effective strategies for their older son to gain admission to Amherst College and their younger son to be selected as a 2012 Gates Millennium Scholar, in 2013, Mychal Wynn, and his wife, Nina, developed the College Planning Cohort (TM) Model as a means of developing ‘Small Group’ support for high school seniors at the Turner Chapel AME Church in Marietta, Georgia, where they serve as the Education Ministry Leaders. Working with a dedicated group of Small Group Coaches, participating students received an extraordinary and highly publicized level of college admission, financial aid, and scholarship offers (Atlanta Journal Constitution, 'Church helps students strike gold on scholarship search' 5/28/2014; Christian Post, 'Georgia Church Helps Student Members Receive $4.3 Million in College Scholarships' 5/29/2014).
How Cohorts Operate
Cohorts are designed to operate for an academic year (September through May). Beginning in September, college planning activities are assigned on average of one per week through our Google Classroom. Students complete the activities, discuss what they learn with their parents or small group coach, post a summary of what they learned to the classroom, and engage with other students in the online classroom who are sharing what they have learned. The goal is to cultivate a dynamic exchange of learning outcomes between students with similar college-bound aspirations.
Students participating in our College Planning Cohorts have achieved remarkable college and scholarship outcomes:
- Increased GPAs
- More rigorous course taking
- Fewer discipline infractions
- Increased leadership and extracurricular activity involvement
- 5 Gates Millennium Scholars
- 3 Posse Foundation Scholars
- The first UMBC Meyerhoff Scholar selected from South Carolina
- Acceptance into such highly selective colleges as Princeton, Amherst College, Williams College, Pomona College, Washington and Lee, Swarthmore, Duke, Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech, Davidson, UNC-Chapel Hill, Wake Forest, Cornell, Emory, Kings College of London
- Invitations to highly selective diversity weekends at Amherst, Williams, Washington and Lee, and Swarthmore
- Acceptance into colleges where students have been able to earn their way into full scholarships such as Tennessee State, Howard, Spelman, and Morehouse
- Full scholarships to such HBCUs as Xavier (LA), FAMU, Tennessee, Dillard, and Howard
- Students who are successfully pursuing STEM-related disciplines at such institutions as Xavier (LA), Spelman, Dillard, Williams, Winston-Salem State, UGA, Mercer, UMBC, Claflin, and Georgia Tech
- Students who have successfully attained their undergraduate degrees and are now attending graduate, law, and medical schools
Making the 'right college choice' and finding the right college 'fit' can have a huge impact on on-time degree attainment and the amount of student loan debt. Each year, our students provide testimony to our success through their involvement on our annual College Discussion Panel, hosted each December during students’ first semester break. Our panelists share their experiences and provide important insight into their journey regarding their college choice, financial aid, and campus experiences.
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