February 2018 Activities

Historically Black Colleges and Universities

February is Black History Month and represents an appropriate time to explore the impact of HBCUs in defining the postsecondary trajectories of cohort students. Our first cohort at the Turner Chapel AME Church in Marietta, Georgia was comprised of entirely African-American students. With pastor, co-pastor, youth pastor, and many members of our congregation representing alumni of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, our students were well aware that the undergraduate educational opportunities at HBCUs were comparable to those of any undergraduate public or private institution in the country. After being offered admission to Cornell, Kings College of London, Boston University, Pomona College, and Howard, one of our cohort students chose Howard. Another student from our church has just entered graduate school at Columbia with a full fellowship after receiving her undergraduate degree from Xavier University of Louisiana. 3 of our church’s Gates Millennium Scholars chose HBCUs (Howard, Morehouse, and Spelman).

While our current cohorts are racially and socioeconomically diverse, many of our students continue to choose HBCUs as their top college choice. Students from our FCSD3 cohort have worked their way into full scholarships at the Alice Carson Tisdale Honors College at Claflin University; several cohort students have received the Presidential Scholarship to Xavier University of Louisiana, one of whom in the dual degree program in computer science, has received a full summer internship with Google’s Seattle Office. We have cohort students on full scholarship at Dillard University, Tennessee State University, and several cohort students who will be graduating in May from Howard University, after having received full scholarships for four years. The opportunities for full merit-based scholarships to attend HBCUs continues with one of our current cohort students being offered the Distinguished Presidential Scholarship (full scholarship) to Tuskegee University. HBCUs, many of which are no longer predominately black, offer undergraduate programs, scholarship opportunities, and exposure to highly sought after internship and research opportunities that any student should seriously consider as part of their postsecondary research.

Congratulations

We are so proud of the many success stories being received each month from cohort students who are working hard to expand their college and scholarship opportunities. High school senior, Peyton Wilson, of Marietta High School in Marietta, Georgia has been selected as a member of the Georgia Washington University 'Posse.' Peyton, seated in the front roll with the beautiful yellow sweater, receives a full tuition scholarship to GW, valued at over $210,000 for four years. Past cohort students have become Posse Scholars at Syracuse and Boston University.

 

Congratulations to 9th grader, Tyra Grant, of Collins Hill High School in Suwanee, Georgia (pictured below, 3rd row, 2nd from right), who has been selected as a member of the inaugural class of the Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project. Both Peyton and Tyra, committed to developing a body of work (i.e., coursework, grades, activities, leadership) and positioned themselves to being offered these extraordinary opportunities. However, after being presented with the opportunity, they committed to preparing for their respective interviews and positioned themselves to be among the most competitive candidates in the room.  

First Semester Review for Students in Grades 9 - 11

Students who were able to keep pace with our one activity per week schedule during the first semester, should have developed a broad understanding of the college planning process and the type of personal goals they must establish if they are to become competitive candidates for scholarships and college admission. Following is a recap of some of the more critical first semester activities.

My Profile Forms: Each student’s profile forms provides a quick glimpse into what they have achieved thus far during their high school journey, i.e., academics, extracurricular activities, leadership, and service. Student profiles are not fixed, they can change based on each student’s aspirations, motivations, and work ethic. However, each student is challenged with determining if his or her profile is aligned with his or her college and career aspirations, i.e., “Do my course taking, grades, and test scores meet the expectations of the colleges to which I want to apply?”

Academic Résumé: Each student’s academic résumé provides a one-page snapshot of what is contained in the student’s profile. The résumé can serve as a critically important supplement to college, summer program, and scholarship applications, as well as supporting emails and letters of inquiry into college opportunities. Whenever we contact colleges, programs, or scholarship providers on behalf of cohort students, we always attach a student’s résumé. Like the profile forms, résumés are not fixed, but provide students with opportunities to establish goals in preparation of developing stellar résumés as high school seniors.

Email Signature: Email signatures represent the third pillar of a student’s initial self-presentation, which ensures that every email communication profiles the student’s graduation year, high school, and 1 - 3 leadership roles or accomplishments.

My Story: The ‘My Story’ essay can provide critically insightful information into a student’s background, personal challenges, aspirations, and unique circumstances. This seemingly innocuous essay can provide the basis for future college admission and scholarship essays.

My Gifts, Talents, and Hook: While many students struggle with the concept of a, “Hook,” taken together, a student’s ‘My Story’ essay, together with their gifts and talents, can reveal a hook. For example, an elite athlete has a clearly-defined hook. However, a good athlete, who has performed well in a school with few financial resources, on a team with many losing seasons, and who comes from a family lacking the ability to provide opportunities for special skill development or athletic programs, may have a comparable hook as that of a more accomplished athlete, which can be communicated through the student’s essays.

Students in our senior cohort had identifiable hooks in such areas as having overcome tremendous personal hardships; extraordinary academic achievement, including near perfect SAT/ACT scores and scoring all ‘5’s’ on their AP exams; noteworthy achievements in theatre, dance, and music; being the first in their family to attend college; and even having impressive nominations and recommendations from our foundation.

Planning Your Course Schedule: The activities regarding course scheduling and test scores provided students with insight into the most direct pathway to becoming a highly competitive college and scholarship applicant. Each year, our high school seniors, who took the most rigorous classes, had the highest grades and test scores, and supplemented their academic achievement with leadership and service, receive the greatest number of college admissions offers and scholarship awards. Such students are exceptionally accomplished and provide the example to which all students should thrive.

Summer Planning: Cohort students not only received a jumpstart on identifying summer programs aligned with their college planning, but have already begun receiving offers of interviews and acceptances to such programs. Some of our high school juniors have participated in summer programs following their freshman and sophomore years of high school, which have defined their ‘hook’ and provided clear college and scholarship pathways.

Attention High School Juniors

Congratulations to Ms. Kristal Martinez, Spanish Language teacher and soccer coach at Lake City High School (Florence County School District 3), who will be teaching "College Planning 101" to a cohort of Lake City High School juniors. We are excited about working with Ms. Martinez and her students who will be working hard to expand their college and scholarship opportunities long prior to entering into their senior year of high school.

As outlined in the first January activity, “SAT or ACT Planning,” our recommended college planning timeline for SAT/ACT testing is:

  • Focus on either the SAT or ACT (but not both)
  • Achieve your baseline score by the first testing date of 2018
    • ACT (February 10, 2018) Retake (June 9, 2018)
    • SAT (March 2, 2018) Retake (June 2, 2018)
  • Based on your scores, retake the test (if needed), by June of 2018

Set a goal to achieve your highest test scores by June of your junior year of high school. From that point, your focus should shift from test scores to college and scholarship applications. If your test scores are competitive for your top-choice colleges great. If not, shift your focus to Test Optional colleges. Failure to follow these recommendations will increase your anxiety in an already anxiety-filled senior year of high school, AND, distract you from the necessary time to be spent on college and scholarship research; engaging in leadership and community service; and writing high quality college and scholarship essays.

The following is reprinted from: Reviews.com: The Best ACT/SAT Test Prep Course

Ranks test prep courses in the following order:

  1. Kaplan SAT/ACT Prep Most Practice Tests
  2. The Princeton Review Best for One-on-One Attention
  3. Khan Academy Best Free SAT Prep
  4. ACT Online Prep Most Engaging ACT Prep

By 10th grade, all students should be proficient in the subject matter on the ACT and the SAT. That doesn’t mean they’re ready to take the test. Edward Carroll, a standardized test expert and tutor at The Princeton Review, said it best: “The SAT, more than anything else, shows how well you take the SAT.”

Think about it like this: A high school basketball player knows how to shoot a free throw, but shooting free throws in the driveway isn’t the same as sinking one during the fourth quarter of the state championships. That’s why we practice, practice, practice.

Taking the SAT or the ACT can feel like suiting up for the state championships. The best test prep courses will help students prepare for that feeling, to acclimate them to the test and its oddities, and help them practice — so when the clock is running down, their practice kicks in.

“The best test prep programs not only prepare students for the test, but also help enhance their knowledge of the subject matter covered in the test. They offer personalized learning that helps build on the student’s strengths and shore up their weaknesses across subject areas, so students feel confident they are prepared for and can do their best on the test.”

Paul Weeks Senior VP for Client Relations at ACT

Kaplan and The Princeton Review are both huge names in the test prep world. We [review.com] liked Kaplan’s $299 basic program and its video-centric materials. But we loved the number of practice tests it came with: It sends 8 practice tests in its Big Book of SAT Practice Tests (if you’re studying for the ACT, it has a similarly giant book called the Big Book of ACT Practice Tests). The Princeton Review is also $299 for the basic program and stood out for having the simplest way to connect with one-on-one help. The basic program includes three hours of chat help, and it’s easy to buy more by the hour ($50 per hour) and a lot simpler than trying to hire a tutor.

Our top pick for SAT prep app is Khan Academy — a nonprofit online learning resource with courses in just about anything. For its SAT Prep, it partnered with the creator of the SAT, the College Board. Take a few diagnostic tests, plug in your test date, and get a customized study plan. The materials include video lessons and seven practice tests written by the College Board.

The best ACT prep app is ACT Online Prep. Like Khan Academy, ACT Online Prep partnered with the creator of the ACT (which is also called ACT). This program was the most fun — tons of games and quizzes to take — and had a continually updating expected score that kept us motivated.

Click here for full review...

What to expect during the second semester

Activities will no longer be introduced through the newsletters. For the next several months, activities will only be posted to our College Planning Cohort Google Classrooms. In August, we will move from the Google Classroom format with the launch of our College Planning Cohort eLearning website. Not only will students be able to complete of of their work on our website, we will be introducing eLearning modules for parents, teachers, and counselors. The most significant adjustment to our college planning cohort program during the second semester will be a shift toward cultivating the ‘Conversational Communities’ that are at the heart of our program. Our monthly cohort meetings will focus on cultivating round table discussions where cohort students engage in sharing what they are learning, how their postsecondary plans are evolving, and how they are progressing in pursuing the goals they have set for themselves. The heart of our program is student learning and whether or not we are successful is revealed through how students are able to engage in conversations about what they are learning.

January 2018 Activities

As we begin 2018, many of our college planning cohort high school seniors successfully developed high quality self-presentations in advance of college and scholarship application deadlines. We assisted many students over the  holiday break with finalizing their Common Applications in advance of January 1 college admissions deadlines. However, cohort students, like Guilford County Schools' Brenna Kaplan, who submitted Early Action or Early Decision applications, are already standing atop the mountains of their dreams with having received the good news of being offered admission to their top choice colleges. Brenna and her mom made a video of their cohort experiences leading to the good news of Brenna's receiving an offer of admission to one of the country's most selective liberal arts colleges, Amherst College.

Our College Panel Discussion, hosted at the Turner Chapel AME Church in December, was an information-filled session by a panel of extraordinary students who candidly shared their college experiences across an array of public and private liberal arts colleges and research institutions. We are appreciative of Alexis Ezell (Emmanuel College); Caleb Oatis (Middle Tennessee State); Candice Cook (University of Georgia); Derric Fray (University of Georgia); Dionne Ledbetter (Howard University); Justin Matthews (Dillard University); Kai Shearer (Tennessee State); Kynnedi Jefferson (Hampton University); Kyrah Felder (Xavier University of Louisiana); Morgan Johnson (University of Pittsburgh); and Tre Warren (University of Tennessee-Martin). The video of the panel will be posted later this month to:  https://www.youtube.com/user/mychalwynn?app=desktop.

In addition to being offered admission to their top choice colleges, many cohort students have also received institutional scholarship offers, such as the Posse Foundation Scholars and SallieMae Bridging the Dream Scholarship. Some of our cohort students are also semi-finalists for the Elks Foundation Scholarship and Coca Cola Scholars Scholarship. Last year, cohort and current Williams College first-year student, Kimberly Hadaway, was selected as an Elks Scholarship recipient and currently serves on the Elks Student Advisory Board

Cohort students in grades 9 - 11 will have many anxiety-filled months ahead as they await decisions regarding applications to Diversity Weekends and summer programs such as the Harvard Debate Council and Yale Young Global Scholars Program.

First Semester Review for Students in Grades 9 - 11

Students who were able to keep pace with our one activity per week schedule during the first semester, should have developed a broad understanding of the college planning process and the type of personal goals they must establish if they are to become competitive candidates for scholarships and college admission. Following is a recap of some of the more critical first semester activities.

My Profile Forms: Each student’s profile forms provides a quick glimpse into what they have achieved thus far during their high school journey, i.e., academics, extracurricular activities, leadership, and service. Student profiles are not fixed, they can change based on each student’s aspirations, motivations, and work ethic. However, each student is challenged with determining if his or her profile is aligned with his or her college and career aspirations, i.e., “Do my course taking, grades, and test scores meet the expectations of the colleges to which I want to apply?”

Academic Résumé: Each student’s academic résumé provides a one-page snapshot of what is contained in the student’s profile. The résumé can serve as a critically important supplement to college, summer program, and scholarship applications, as well as supporting emails and letters of inquiry into college opportunities. Whenever we contact colleges, programs, or scholarship providers on behalf of cohort students, we always attach a student’s résumé. Like the profile forms, résumés are not fixed, but provide students with opportunities to establish goals in preparation of developing stellar résumés as high school seniors.

Email Signature: Email signatures represent the third pillar of a student’s initial self-presentation, which ensures that every email communication profiles the student’s graduation year, high school, and 1 - 3 leadership roles or accomplishments.

My Story: The ‘My Story’ essay can provide critically insightful information into a student’s background, personal challenges, aspirations, and unique circumstances. This seemingly innocuous essay can provide the basis for future college admission and scholarship essays.

My Gifts, Talents, and Hook: While many students struggle with the concept of a, “Hook,” taken together, a student’s ‘My Story’ essay, together with their gifts and talents, can reveal a hook. For example, an elite athlete has a clearly-defined hook. However, a good athlete, who has performed well in a school with few financial resources, on a team with many losing seasons, and who comes from a family lacking the ability to provide opportunities for special skill development or athletic programs, may have a comparable hook as that of a more accomplished athlete, which can be communicated through the student’s essays.

Students in our senior cohort had identifiable hooks in such areas as having overcome tremendous personal hardships; extraordinary academic achievement, including near perfect SAT/ACT scores and scoring all ‘5’s’ on their AP exams; noteworthy achievements in theatre, dance, and music; being the first in their family to attend college; and even having impressive nominations and recommendations from our foundation.

Planning Your Course Schedule: The activities regarding course scheduling and test scores provided students with insight into the most direct pathway to becoming a highly competitive college and scholarship applicant. Each year, our high school seniors, who took the most rigorous classes, had the highest grades and test scores, and supplemented their academic achievement with leadership and service, receive the greatest number of college admissions offers and scholarship awards. Such students are exceptionally accomplished and provide the example to which all students should thrive.

Summer Planning: Cohort students not only received a jumpstart on identifying summer programs aligned with their college planning, but have already begun receiving offers of interviews and acceptances to such programs. Some of our high school juniors have participated in summer programs following their freshman and sophomore years of high school, which have defined their ‘hook’ and provided clear college and scholarship pathways.

Attention High School Juniors

As outlined in the first January activity, “SAT or ACT Planning,” our recommended college planning timeline for SAT/ACT testing is:

  • Focus on either the SAT or ACT (but not both)
  • Achieve your baseline score by the first testing date of 2018
    • ACT (February 10, 2018) Retake (June 9, 2018)
    • SAT (March 2, 2018) Retake (June 2, 2018)
  • Based on your scores, retake the test (if needed), by June of 2018

Set a goal to achieve your highest test scores by June of your junior year of high school. From that point, your focus should shift from test scores to college and scholarship applications. If your test scores are competitive for your top-choice colleges great. If not, shift your focus to Test Optional’ colleges. Failure to follow these recommendations will increase your anxiety in an already anxiety-filled senior year of high school, AND, distract you from the necessary time to be spent on college and scholarship research; engaging in leadership and community service; and writing high quality college and scholarship essays.

The following is reprinted from: Reviews.com: The Best ACT/SAT Test Prep Course

Ranks test prep courses in the following order:

  1. Kaplan SAT/ACT Prep Most Practice Tests
  2. The Princeton Review Best for One-on-One Attention
  3. Khan Academy Best Free SAT Prep
  4. ACT Online Prep Most Engaging ACT Prep

By 10th grade, all students should be proficient in the subject matter on the ACT and the SAT. That doesn’t mean they’re ready to take the test. Edward Carroll, a standardized test expert and tutor at The Princeton Review, said it best: “The SAT, more than anything else, shows how well you take the SAT.”

Think about it like this: A high school basketball player knows how to shoot a free throw, but shooting free throws in the driveway isn’t the same as sinking one during the fourth quarter of the state championships. That’s why we practice, practice, practice.

Taking the SAT or the ACT can feel like suiting up for the state championships. The best test prep courses will help students prepare for that feeling, to acclimate them to the test and its oddities, and help them practice — so when the clock is running down, their practice kicks in.

“The best test prep programs not only prepare students for the test, but also help enhance their knowledge of the subject matter covered in the test. They offer personalized learning that helps build on the student’s strengths and shore up their weaknesses across subject areas, so students feel confident they are prepared for and can do their best on the test.”

Paul Weeks Senior VP for Client Relations at ACT

Kaplan and The Princeton Review are both huge names in the test prep world. We [review.com] liked Kaplan’s $299 basic program and its video-centric materials. But we loved the number of practice tests it came with: It sends 8 practice tests in its Big Book of SAT Practice Tests (if you’re studying for the ACT, it has a similarly giant book called the Big Book of ACT Practice Tests). The Princeton Review is also $299 for the basic program and stood out for having the simplest way to connect with one-on-one help. The basic program includes three hours of chat help, and it’s easy to buy more by the hour ($50 per hour) and a lot simpler than trying to hire a tutor.

Our top pick for SAT prep app is Khan Academy — a nonprofit online learning resource with courses in just about anything. For its SAT Prep, it partnered with the creator of the SAT, the College Board. Take a few diagnostic tests, plug in your test date, and get a customized study plan. The materials include video lessons and seven practice tests written by the College Board.

The best ACT prep app is ACT Online Prep. Like Khan Academy, ACT Online Prep partnered with the creator of the ACT (which is also called ACT). This program was the most fun — tons of games and quizzes to take — and had a continually updating expected score that kept us motivated.

Click here for full review...

What to expect during the second semester

As we welcome new students to our program, following is a summary of how our program operates:

  1. An average of 1 activity per week is assigned through our College Planning Cohort Google Classrooms.
  2. Each activity is intended to take between 30 minutes to an hour to complete.
  3. Activities are intended to provide pieces to a students’ overall college-bound plan by expanding students’ college knowledge and thereby providing the context for college planning conversations. These conversations may occur between students and parents (or small group coaches), students participating in small groups, and between students through their postings to the Google Classroom.
  4. Monthly summaries, if submitted prior to the end of the month, will be reviewed and commented on by cohort facilitators or small group coaches.
  5. Each student’s work is maintained in the student’s online folder as part of the student’s ‘Body of Work.’ As a high school senior, this body of work will reflect each student’s ‘Self-Presentation.’ Consequently, the overall goal of each student’s participation in our College Planning Cohort Program is to develop a high quality self presentation for submitting college and scholarship applications as high school seniors.

All first semester activities have been removed from our Google Classrooms, but will continue to be available for purchase from our website. Refer to each our blog postings for the assigned activities by month. Students enrolled in our program during the first semester have had all of their completed work moved into folders, to which they will continue to have access, while they are registered for our program. Please note that you may always visit our monthly blog to review the first semester activities.

All announcements pertaining to cohort meetings and conference calls will be announced in our monthly newsletter.

Important Dates:

FCSD3 Cohort Monthly Meeting: Saturday, January 13, 2018: 9:30 am - 3:00 pm in the School Board Room.

The Next Episode: Sunday, January 14, 2018: 9:30 am - the end of worship service (Turner Chapel AME Church Boardroom).

Atlanta-area Monthly Cohort Meeting: Sunday, January 14, 2018: Noon - 1:30 pm (Turner Chapel AME Church).

TCC High School Senior Cohort: Sunday, January 14, 2018: Immediately following worship service.

Monthly Conference Call: Sunday, January 14, 2018: 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm (Details posted in the Google Classroom).

GCS Cohort Monthly Meeting: Saturday, January 20, 2018: 9:00 am - 1:00 pm in the GTCC Computer Lab. Please note that all students should wear their GCS First Generation Ambassadors T-shirts to the March meeting so that we may take a group photo.

What is being planned for the future

We are currently in the process of redesigning our websites:

Under the new design, which we anticipate beginning the 2018/19 school year, our bookstore, college planning cohorts, and information about Mychal Wynn, will all be available at the Foundation for Ensuring Access and Equity website. We anticipate moving away from the Google Classroom format in September, 2018 and into a format that is fully hosted on our website. Under the new format, students will receive login information that will allow access to our College Planning Cohort information database. Our database will include monthly activities, scholarships that cohort students have received, colleges to which cohort students have been offered admission, sample award letters, and other information gathered over the 5 years of our College Planning Cohort Program. We are excited about the new website design and anticipate that our students will be among the most competitive college and scholarship applicants in the country.

We are also excited about the planned expansion of our partnerships with Crossroads for Teens, Florence County School District 3, Guilford County Schools, and our community- and faith-based cohorts.

Have a Question?

Contact us at:

Phone: (678) 395-5825
Email: cpc@collegegplanningcohort.com
Website: www.collegeplanningcohort.com

Mail:

College Planning Cohort
C/O Foundation for Ensuring Access and Equity

P.O. Box 70457
Marietta, GA 30007

Click here if you need to purchase a cohort registration...

   

December Activities

December 1, 2017

Author: Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)
Editor: Mychal-David Wynn (Amherst College ’13)

An important shift for high school seniors from college to scholarship research

Damian-Lee

December represents an important transition for our College Planning Cohort seniors from college to scholarship research. As our College Planning Cohort high school seniors have finalized their college research, completed ‘Net Price Calculations,’ submitted their FAFSA, and identified institutional scholarship opportunities at each of their colleges, students now have estimates of their financial aid gaps. The primary focus from now until college enrollment decisions are finalized on May 1, is to identify and qualify for enough private scholarship money to close the financial aid gap.

Show Me the Money: A Comprehensive Guide to Scholarships, Financial Aid, and Making the Right College Choice,” (also available as a digital download), is an invaluable resource to assist in identifying, and submitting high quality scholarship application packages. However, for some cohort students, like Damian L., from Lake City High School in Lake City, South Carolina, a high quality nomination can pave the way to an extraordinary opportunity.

Damian’s blessing was one of collaboration, prayer, and preparation. Florence County School District 3 Superintendent, Laura Hickson, forwarded an email about the SallieMae “Bridging the Dream Scholarship” to the Director of College and Career Readiness, Yvonne Scott. With the application deadline just days away, Ms. Scott asked if my wife would be able to make the nomination for Damian. Having worked with Damian since he was a high school junior, my wife and I knew enough about Damian’s story, leadership, and achievements to write and submit the nomination. After receiving several hundred nominations for the 5 scholarships, we were contacted by SallieMae representatives with the announcement that Damian was a semifinalist. During a lengthy conference call with SallieMae representatives regarding our nomination, we were able to refer to Damian’s Profile and Résumé to provide the SallieMae representatives with additional insight into Damian’s leadership, community service, and achievements. A few weeks later, Damian was selected as a finalist, and on Tuesday, November 7, 2017, Damian received the news that he was one of the five recipients for the $25,000 scholarship. Our goal is to assist Damian in being offered admission to his first-choice college, George Washington University, and to avoid student loan debt as Rapper, Dee-1, talks about in his “Sallie Mae Back,” video.

Current or former college students may apply for the SallieMae $10,000 Mission Finish Contest through December 15, 2017 by posting their comments about having paid off, or looking forward to paying off their SallieMae student loans.

Congratulations to our Turner Chapel AME Church Cohort student, Amari TW, for receiving an offer of admission from his top college choice, Middle Tennessee State University. The joy on Amari’s face as he opened his acceptance letter is being felt by many of our cohort students who have already received many such letters.

A special congratulations to our Guilford County First Generation College Planning Cohort student, Kristen S., who not only received an offer of admission to Tuskegee University, but was awarded the Distinguished Presidential Scholarship for tuition, room, board, fees, and a $800 book stipend (valued at over $166,000). Kristen is also a semifinalist for the Coca Cola Scholars Scholarship.

However, even as the success stories roll in, an anxiety filled senior-year continues for our students, many of whom have application deadlines today to be considered for institutional scholarships at such schools as Davidson, Wake Forest, and Boston University. Writing high quality college admissions essays takes times and many revisions, so students with January 1 application deadlines must use their time wisely over the holiday break from school to write, review, and write again.

December Activities (Seniors)

Our team of volunteers is busily assisting high school seniors with finalizing college applications, writing essays, and positioning themselves for the best college and scholarship opportunities. My wife and I serve as advisors and recommenders for The Common Application and have been writing letters of recommendation, nominating students for scholarship programs, and communicating with college admissions officers to ensure that our first generation students are being exposed to top colleges and institutional scholarship opportunities.

There are no activities assigned for high school seniors as we wish for them to continue finalizing their self-presentations:

  • A High Quality one-page Academic Résumés
  • Special-focus Résumés for Athletics or the Creative Arts
  • Art Portfolios or Performance Videos
  • A High Quality College Admission Essay Making a Strong Connection to Their Body of Work
  • High Quality Letters of Recommendation Reinforcing Their ‘Hook’
  • Making Strong Connections to Their Top-choice Schools

As seniors transition into scholarship research, it is anticipated that students will revisit each of the scholarship activities throughout the balance of their senior year of high school. As students, “Get Organized,” engage in “Scholarship Research,” focus their research on a specific “Intangibles of Scholarship Research,” and create a “Winning Scholarship Package,” they will repeat the process for each area of their scholarship focus. Engaging in scholarship research is an exhaustive process with each Internet search yielding millions of results. The scholarship research process will require writing and adapting essays to fit a broad range of writing prompts, from what a student would most desire to change in the world to the most important issues of social justice facing society today.

December Activities (Grades 9 – 11)

November’s self-reflective activities engaged students in assessing their level of coursework, i.e., AP, Dual Enrollment, or honors-level; relationships with teachers, counselors, and coaches; and began the process of conceptualizing students’ coursework, leadership, community service, and activity involvement throughout the context of developing comprehensive 9 – 12 college-bound plans. The December activities are designed to engage students in self-assessment and summer planning within the context of students’ college and career aspirations:

  • Activity 1: Self-Assessment
  • Activity 2: A Context for the Conversation
  • Activity 3: Careers and College Majors
  • Activity 4: Summer Planning

How students spends their summers during each year of high school can have profound impact on expanding the college and scholarship opportunities. Our sons spent their high school summers becoming better track and field athletes, expanding their gifts and talents in music and art, and experienced leadership programs where they developed skills which they brought back into the high school clubs, organizations, and athletic teams. Some of our cohort students have attending the Yale Young Global Scholars Program, Junior State of America, Disney Dreamer’s Academy, Space Camp, the Centennial Aviation Academy, and the Summer Institute for the Gifted.

Program Updates

We are pleased with the attendance and conversations at our November meeting with families participating in the ‘CPC: 9 – 11 Grade Cohort.’ Our December meeting will review the assigned activities and engage students and parents in a large group discussion. Beginning in January, participating students will be asked to bring their laptop computers to engage in a working session at which time, students will be guided through some of the assigned activities. Mychal-David Wynn (Amherst College ’13 BA English) is now a co-instructor in the CPC: 9 – 11 Grade and WVICC Google Classrooms.

Saturday, December 2, 2017: The FCSD3 College Planning Cohort will meet at the Florence County School District 3 Boardroom (located behind the administrative offices) from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm.

Sunday, December 3, 10, and 17, 2017: The United Ghana Christian Church Cohort will meet during the worship service.

Saturday, December 9, 2017: The Guilford County Schools First Generation Cohort (high school juniors and seniors) will meet at Guilford Technical Community College (GTCC) Greensboro Campus, 3505 East Wendover Avenue, Greensboro, NC. Room 304-B (3rd Floor), from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm.

Sunday, December 10, 2017: The Next Episode Bible Study and College Planning Session (high school juniors and seniors) will meet in the Boardroom at the Turner Chapel AME Church, located at 492 North Marietta Parkway • Marietta, GA 30060, from 9:30 am to 11:45 am.

Sunday, December 10, 2017: The CPC: 9 – 11 Grade Cohort and TCC Senior Cohort will meet immediately following worship service in Room 187 (9 – 11) and Room 182 (Seniors) at the Turner Chapel AME Church, located at 492 North Marietta Parkway • Marietta, GA 30060, from Noon to 1:30 pm.

Sunday, December 10, 2017: The Crossroads for Teens Cohort (middle through high school students) will meet at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, located at 955 Johnson Ferry Road • Marietta, GA 30068, from 3:00 to 4:30 pm.

Thursday, December 14, 2017: “The Application Process,” College Planning Workshop sponsored by the Guilford County Schools Parent Academy: Believe it or not, applying to college can be stress-free (and even fun)! Find out for yourself on Thursday, December 14th, when our College Planning Workshop Series returns to cover the entire college application process. The session, which will be led by college planning expert, Mychal Wynn, who will provide you with a step-by-step blueprint for successfully navigating the entire process. Deep River Event Center, 606 Millwood School Rd, Greensboro, NC 27409, from 6:00PM – 7:15PM.

Saturday, December 16, 2017: 8th Annual Turner Chapel AME Church Education Ministry College Panel Discussion, hosted by the Turner Chapel AME Church Education Ministry, will be presented in the Turner Chapel AME Church Chapel, located at 492 North Marietta Parkway • Marietta, GA 30060, from 11:00 am to Noon. Graduate and undergraduate student panelist will represent a broad range of liberal arts colleges and research institutions, such as the University of Pittsburg, University of Georgia, Dillard, Middle Tennessee State, Tennessee State, UT-Martin, Morehouse, Hampton, Xavier, Emmanuel, and Howard. Topics will cover the preparation, transition, financial aid, study abroad, internship and research opportunities, challenges to be overcome, and obstacles to be avoided. Panelists represent student-athletes and a broad range of academic disciplines.

December 31, 2017 will be the last day of free download of our College Planning Activities. Beginning on January 1, 2018, all activities will be assigned through our College Planning Cohort Google Classrooms.

Click her to download College Discussion Panel Flyer…

Registration for the second semester College Planning Cohort is now open, click here to join…

Have a Question?

Contact us at:

Phone: (678) 395-5825
Email: cpc@collegegplanningcohort.com
Website: www.collegeplanningcohort.com

Mail:

College Planning Cohort
C/O Foundation for Ensuring Access and Equity

P.O. Box 70457
Marietta, GA 30007

November Activities

November 1, 2017

Author: Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)
Editor: Mychal-David Wynn (Amherst College ’13)

College Admission and Scholarship Applications

October was a busy month for our College Planning Cohort Program. We welcomed new students and parents into our Guilford County Schools First Generation Ambassadors, Crossroads for Teens, and national cohorts; and began our World Victory International Christian Church Cohort (Greensboro, NC). The JSTEM Academy in San Antonio, Texas, has integrated our text, A Middle School Plan for Students with College-Bound Dreams,” into their 6th, 7th, and 8th grade advisory periods to expand the college planning conversation throughout their school community. Our 8th Annual Turner Chapel AME Church College Fair was a phenomenal success, with over 300 parents and students in attendance at the pre-College Fair workshop, Show Me the Money: Scholarships, Financial Aid, and Making the Right College Choice.”  Many attending students received on the spot scholarships and offers of admission from participating colleges.

October 1 was the opening of the FAFSA filing period. Consequently, high school seniors should now know whether their EFC qualifies them for need-based financial aid or if they must focus their attention on pursuing merit-based scholarships and grants. Based, in part, on their EFC, students are making adjustments to their college list and to the admissions cycle through which they will be submitting their applications. Seniors who have found the right fit and right financial aid policies are increasing their chances of being offered admission by applying ‘Early Decision.’ For such students, today is the ‘Early Action’ and ‘Early Decision’ deadline at many colleges and universities. The College Planning Cohort experience has led many high school seniors to the point where their applications are being placed into the ‘right’ rooms and will reflect a high quality ‘Self-Presentation.’ However, this will not have come without grit and determination. Cohort students have developed academic résumés, set school-year goals, researched colleges and scholarships, assumed leadership roles, performed meaningful community service, identified their ‘hook,’ and carefully worked to clearly-define their brand. The reward for all of their work will be in identifying the right college match and making themselves competitive candidates for college admission and scholarship consideration. Many cohort students have even defied the odds and experienced huge increases in SAT and ACT scores as a result of having established clear test score goals and having made a commitment to expanding their subject-area knowledge and developing effective testing strategies.

As was the case in 2016, two of our hardest working students, Kristen S., positioned herself to receive invitations to the Diversity Weekend opportunities at Amherst College, Williams CollegeSwarthmore College, and Johns Hopkins University, while Loren T., positioned himself to be invited to the Diversity Weekends at Williams, Bowdoin, Carleton, and Davidson. However, they were not the only cohort students to have been selected from among the most academically accomplished students in the country to receive Diversity Weekend invitations from selective liberal arts colleges and research universities.

Congratulations to Guilford County Schools cohort student, Brenna K., who has been selected as a QuestBridge Finalist, FCSD3 Cohort student, Damien L., who has been selected as a finalist for the SallieMae Bridging the Dream Scholarship and has as a semifinalist for The Gates Scholarship, and to Peyton W., and Travis W., who have been selected as finalists for the Posse Foundation Scholarship.

At this point during the college admissions process, cohort students should be well aware of the competition for college admission, as reflected in the Amherst College Admissions video. The October activities guided cohort students through finalizing their college lists, identifying institutional scholarship opportunities, and developing college admissions strategies. Performing arts students are finalizing their creative arts résumés, preparing for auditions, and uploading videos showcasing their musical, dance, and theatrical gifts, while athletes are finalizing their athletic résumés. Students who will be applying to through the regular decision process, with college application deadlines after the first of the year, will have time to carefully review applications and fine-tune college admissions essays. However, this month will begin the transition for many of our high school seniors into private scholarship research.

November Activities (Seniors)

As high school seniors finalize their self-presentations, they will have developed:

  • A High Quality one-page Academic Résumés
  • Special-focus Résumés for Athletics or the Creative Arts
  • Art Portfolios or Performance Videos
  • A High Quality College Admission Essay Making a Strong Connection to Their Body of Work
  • High Quality Letters of Recommendation Reinforcing Their ‘Hook’
  • An Academic Record Which Strongly Supports Their Desired College Major
  • Strong Connections to Their Top-choice Schools

As seniors transition into scholarship research, it is anticipated that students will revisit each of the scholarship activities throughout the balance of their senior year of high school. As students, “Get Organized,” engage in “Scholarship Research,” focus their research on a specific “Intangible,” and create a “Winning Scholarship Package,” they will repeat the process for each area of their scholarship focus. Engaging in scholarship research is an exhaustive process with each Internet search yielding millions of results. The scholarship research process will require writing and adapting essays to fit a broad range of writing prompts, from what a student would most desire to change in the world to the most important issues of social justice facing society today.

November Activities (9 – 11)

October’s self-reflective activities, in which students assessed their gifts and talents, unpacked their résumés, set goals, and developed school-year action plans must now be considered within the larger context of what students have learned about themselves during these first months of the school year. Are you enrolled in the correct level of coursework, i.e., AP, Dual Enrollment, or honors-level? Are you balancing your time and performing well in your classes and activities? Are you engaging in your classes and building relationships with teachers, counselors, and coaches in a manner in which you will be able to approach them for a stellar letter or recommendation? The assigned activities for November will assist in further crystallizing students’ current-year plans and begin the process of conceptualizing students’ coursework, leadership, community service, and activity involvement throughout the context of developing comprehensive 9 – 12 college-bound plans.

Program Updates

We will begin hosting a monthly meeting for students participating in the ‘CPC: 9 – 11 Grade Cohort.’ Meetings during November and December will review the monthly activities and engage students and parents in a large group discussion. Beginning in January, participating students will be asked to bring their laptop computers to engage in a working session at which time, students will be guided through some of the assigned activities. Mychal-David Wynn (Amherst College ’13 BA English) is now a co-instructor in the CPC: 9 – 11 Grade and WVICC Google Classrooms.

Saturday, November 4, 2017: College and scholarship application assistance. The FCSD3 College Planning Cohort will meet on Saturday, November 4, 2017, at the Florence County School District 3 Boardroom (located behind the administrative offices) from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm. On Monday, November 6, 2017, we will be meeting (by appointment) in the Lake City High School College Corner from 8:30 am – 4:00 pm. Representatives from SallieMae will also be interviewing students and local representatives as part of their documentary film about FCSD3 Cohort Student, Damien Lee, who is a finalist for the SallieMae Bridging the Dream Scholarship.

Sunday, November 12, 2017: The Next Episode Bible Study and College Planning Session (high school juniors and seniors) will meet in the Boardroom at the Turner Chapel AME Church, located at 492 North Marietta Parkway • Marietta, GA 30060, from 9:30 am to 11:45 am.

Sunday, November 12, 2017: The CPC: 9 – 11 Grade and TCC Cohorts will meet immediately following worship service in Room 182 at the Turner Chapel AME Church, located at 492 North Marietta Parkway • Marietta, GA 30060, from Noon to 1:30 pm.

Sunday, November 12, 2017: The Crossroads for Teens Cohort (middle through high school students) will meet at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, located at 955 Johnson Ferry Road • Marietta, GA 30068, from 3:00 to 4:30 pm.

Saturday, November 18: The Guilford County Schools First Generation Cohort (high school juniors and seniors) will meet at Guilford Technical Community College (GTCC) Greensboro Campus, 3505 East Wendover Avenue, Greensboro, NC. Room 304-B (3rd Floor)from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm.

Saturday, December 16: College Panel Discussion, hosted by the Turner Chapel AME Church Education Ministry, will be presented in the Chapel, located at 492 North Marietta Parkway • Marietta, GA 30060, from Noon to 1:30 pm. Student and parent panelist will represent a broad range of liberal arts colleges and research institutions. Topics will cover the preparation, transition, financial aid, internship and research opportunities, challenges to be overcome, and obstacles to be avoided.

Have a Question?

Contact us at:

Phone: (678) 395-5825
Email: cpc@collegegplanningcohort.com
Website: www.collegeplanningcohort.com

Mail:

College Planning Cohort
C/O Foundation for Ensuring Access and Equity

P.O. Box 70457
Marietta, GA 30007

October Activities

October 1, 2017

Author: Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)
Editor: Mychal-David Wynn (Amherst College ’13)

October College Planning Newsletter

FAFSA

The FAFSA filing period opened today for all high school and college students applying for financial aid for the 2018/19 academic year. Please click onto the following link for a comprehensive overview of the FAFSA: Completing the FAFSA.

Google Classroom Update

September was a great introductory month for our College Planning Cohort Google Classrooms.

October will bring two important changes:

  1. Assignments will be posted on the first of each month and close on the last day of the month.
  2. All assignments and postings will receive a Pass or Fail grade so that parents will be aware of their student’s participation.

Guilford County School First Generation Cohort

We would like to welcome the new high school juniors and seniors, and their parents, to the GCS First Generation Cohort. We had a great meeting and look forward to our next meeting on Saturday, October 21 (9:00 am – 1:00 pm). We encourage all participating students to complete the current assignments in preparation for our next meeting. Please plan to arrive on time as there is a great deal for us to accomplish during our short 4-hour meeting time.

Florence County School District 3

We had a great September meeting with Lake City High School seniors, and a great boot camp with Lake City High School Early College students. FCSD3 Cohort students may continue to receive assistance from Ms. Martinez between monthly meetings. FCSD3 Early College students may continue working with Ms. Singletary to complete the boot camp activities.

Our October 7, LCHS Cohort meeting will be devoted to assisting students and parents with completing the FAFSA. We will host a morning session from 9:30 am – 11:30 am and an afternoon session from 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm.

You must bring the following information:

  • 2015 Federal Tax Returns (Parents and Students)
  • Social Security Number and Driver’s License (Parents and students)
  • Email Address (Parents and Students)

Please email cpc@collegeplanningcohort.com to confirm your participation.

Turner Chapel AME Church Senior Cohort

The Turner Chapel AME Church high school Senior Cohort will meet on Sunday, November 12, and Sunday, December 10 in Room 182, immediately following worship service. All participating students and parents are required to attend. Following a short presentation, students and parents will meet with their Small Group Coaches.

Turner Chapel AME Church, The Next Episode

Please mark your calendar. Due to a conflict with Women’s Day, The Next Episode will not meet during October. However, all high school juniors and seniors are invited to attend the final two Next Episode meetings of 2017 on Sunday, November 12, and Sunday, December 10 (9:30 am in the Boardroom). All participating cohort juniors and seniors are required to attend.

WVICC Cohort

We are excited to begin a new cohort, sponsored by Bishop Adrian Starks and Pastor Shandi Starks, of the World Victory International Christian Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. We had a great overview meeting and look forward to all interested students registering in the WVICC College Planning Cohort Google Classroom.

Mark Your Calendar for the 8th Annual Turner Chapel AME Church College Fair

Over 50 colleges and universities will be participating in the 8th Annual Turner Chapel AME Church College Fair on Saturday, October 28, 2017 from Noon until 3:00 pm. College planning and financial aid workshops and resources will be available to assist students with identifying postsecondary pathways and scholarship opportunities.

I will be presenting a pre-College Fair workshop on Scholarships, Financial Aid, and Making the Right College Choice from 11:00 am – Noon in the Turner Chapel AME Church Chapel.

Click here to register: http://ypdvillage.wixsite.com/collegefair

How is your school year coming?

After several weeks of school and getting to know your teachers and their expectations, each student must pause for self-reflection and self-assessment. Begin by reviewing your résumé. What is the impact you wish to have on your résumé as a result of your first semester academic performance (e.g., GPA, class rank, and SAT/ACT scores)?

Important academic questions:

  1. What academic goals have you set and will you be able to achieve those goals in each of your classes?
  2. Will you need academic support?
  3. Are you organized and have you established an effective study routine?
  4. Have you put myself into a position of being well prepared for tests and quizzes, and to complete and submit all assignments?

What extracurricular activities have you become involved and what leadership roles have you accepted?

Important leadership and community service questions:

  1. Are you involved in the types of clubs and activities that will further define your ‘brand?’ (e.g., athletics, math and science, music, dance, community advocate)?
  2. Have you identified the leadership roles you plan to pursue (e.g., captain, officer, founder, coordinator)?
  3. Have you identified meaningful community service aligned with your brand (e.g, coaching youth sports; tutoring students in my passionate areas of math, science, dance, music, art; mentoring youth to reduce discipline infractions or gang involvement)?
  4. Do you have a clear college and scholarship plan to distinguish yourself in the areas of community service and leadership?

National College Planning Cohort

We will no longer post activities in our monthly newsletter. Students, in grades 9 – 11, who registered for our national college planning cohort in 2016, may visit our website, http://collegeplanningcohort.com/index.php/monthly-activities/. You will have the opportunity to continue downloading monthly activities throughout 2017 at no additional cost. Students who desire to participate in our College Planning Cohort Google Classroom may register for $199.95 per semester or purchase a discounted registration of $349.95 to cover the 2017/18 academic year.

High school seniors who are in need of immediate help, may contact our offices to set up a 30-minute free consultation (678-395-5825) or email cpc@collegeplanningcohort.com.

What are the benefits of the College Planning Cohort Google Classroom?

Through our research, the Google Classroom platform offers many benefits to our program:

  • Documents are securely maintained on the Google server and automatically save
  • Documents may be securely shared with parents so that students, parents, facilitators, and cohort leaders are always aware of current actions and student work
  • We are cultivating a synergistic exchange of ideas, hopes, dreams, and college/career aspirations between students as they post comments of what they are learning and how their college plans are taking shape
  • By serving as facilitators, parents, teachers, counselors, or mentors will become part of a national college planning support network for students and families
  • We are providing more focused guidance as we assign supplemental activities based on each student’s dreams, aspirations, and body of work
  • We are providing opportunities for former cohort students to serve as ‘guest lecturers,’ to share their experiences and provide greater insight into the impact of the activities on cohort students’ college and scholarship outcomes

Would you like to start a cohort?

Meeting

While individual students may join our National College Planning Cohort Google Classroom, any group of 5 or more students may form a cohort and we will design a classroom for the student group or community-based organization. While students will complete the same activities, the class will be monitored by a facilitator (e.g., parent, coach, mentor, counselor, teacher, etc.) from the sponsoring group. Cohorts may be formed around a grade level (9 – 12), group (e.g., Boy/Girl Scouts, Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, after school program, etc.), or organization (e.g., fraternity, sorority, Jack and Jill, etc.).

Have a Question?

Contact us at:

Phone: (678) 395-5825
Email: cpc@collegegplanningcohort.com
Website: www.collegeplanningcohort.com

Mail:

College Planning Cohort
C/O Foundation for Ensuring Access and Equity

P.O. Box 70457
Marietta, GA 30007

September Activities

September 1, 2017

Author: Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)
Editor: Mychal-David Wynn (Amherst College ’13)

September College Planning Newsletter

September 1, 2017

Welcome to the 2017/18 College Planning Cohort™ Program

Today is the kickoff of our new College Planning Cohort Google Classrooms. As our program continues to evolve, Google Classrooms represent another means of furthering our efforts in closing the ‘college knowledge gap’ and assisting students in identifying the most viable postsecondary pathways to their college/career aspirations. These classrooms are designed to engage students in the assigned activities and to cultivate an environment in which students are sharing with, and learning from, other students.

Following is an overview of the new Google Classroom format:

Objective

Each assigned activity begins with an ‘Objective.’ Take a moment to read the ‘Objective’ of each activity so that you understand the purpose of the activity and what you should learn from having completed the activity.

Guiding Question(s)

Attempt to answer the guiding questions prior to completing the activity. After completing the activity, compare how you answered the questions with what you learned.

The cohort experience is all about both what you learn and how you apply what you learn to conceptualizing your college-bound plan. Your pre- and post-answers will reflect your ‘college knowledge’ and expose any ‘college knowledge gaps’ you may have. Even if you initially completed an activity as a high school sophomore and later completed the same activity as a high school junior, you may discover that not only are you better able to answer the guiding questions, but also that completing the activity a second time places the information into a different, larger context based on how your college and scholarship opportunities have evolved.

The Lessons

Most activities have several lessons. Some lessons are scaffolded, meaning that each lesson builds on what you learned from the previous lesson. Other lessons are independent, for example, one lesson may relate to institutional scholarships while another lesson may relate to military scholarships. Unless a lesson is listed as ‘Optional,’ the lesson should be completed as part of the activity.

Google Documents

All necessary documents and links are provided in each activity. Each document will become part of your ‘Body of Work.’ Body of Work is an important concept for cohort students: each activity and each corresponding document is designed to represent a piece of your overall college-bound plan (i.e., résumé, college research, scholarship research, essays, career research, gifts and talents, etc.). The goal of cohort participation is to create a high quality body of work, prior to beginning your senior year of high school. As a high school senior, your focus will be on creating a high quality ‘self-presentation’ of your body of work.

All Google Documents are shared and exchanged through the classroom, consequently, there will be no need to exchange documents via email.

What if I am registered for the cohort, but do not plan to participate in a Google Classroom?

Cohort students who are not registered to participate in the Google Classrooms will continue to have access to free downloadable activities on our website through December 31, 2017. On January 1, 2018, our program will only operate through the College Planning Cohort Google Classroom.

Congratulations

Receiving an invitation to a Diversity Weekend is more competitive than being offered admission to the college or university so these students are to be congratulated for being among the most accomplished students in the country to be offered all-expenses paid visits to some of the country’s best colleges and universities:

Kristen S., Guilford County Schools (NC)

  • Amherst College – Diversity Open House (DIVOH)
  • Johns Hopkins University – Hopkins Overnight Multicultural Experience (HOME)
  • Swarthmore College – Discover Swarthmore
  • Washington and Lee – Diversity and Inclusion Visit Experience (DIVE)
  • Williams College – Windows on Williams (WOW)

Brenna K., Guilford County Schools (NC)

  • Amherst College – Diversity Open House (DIVOH)

Loren T., Cobb County Schools (GA)

  • Williams College – Windows on Williams (WOW)

We would like to congratulate the following students for being selected for the next round of the Posse Foundation Scholars Program interviews:

  • Faith L., Fulton County Schools (GA)
  • Malathi R., Cobb County Schools (GA)
  • Travis W., Cobb County Schools (GA)

We would like to congratulate second-year Florence County School District 3 college students, Latajah Alford and Dawanya Burgess, who have been accepted into the Alice Carson Tisdale Honors College at Claflin University and awarded Honors College Scholarships.

September Activities (Seniors)

September Activities (Grades 9 – 11)

Important Announcements

College Planning Boot Camp

A 2-day College Planning Boot Camp for Early College Students in Florence County School District 3 (Lake City, SC) will be hosted on Saturday, September 30 and Sunday, October 1.

College Planning Cohorts

Florence County School District 3 (9:30 am – 3:00 pm):

  • Saturday, September 2, 2017
  • Saturday, October 7, 2017
  • Saturday, November 4, 2017
  • Saturday, December 2, 2017
  • Saturday, January 13, 2018
  • Saturday, February 3, 2018
  • Saturday, March 3, 2018
  • Saturday, April 14, 2018

Guilford County Schools First Generation (9:00 am – 1:00 pm):

  • Saturday, September 30, 2017
  • Saturday, October 21, 2017
  • Saturday, November 18, 2017
  • Saturday, December 9, 2017
  • Saturday, January 20, 2018
  • Saturday, February 17, 2018
  • Saturday, March 17, 2018
  • Saturday, April 21, 2018

Johnson Ferry Baptist Church Crossroads for Teens (3:00 pm – 4:30 pm)

  • Sunday, September 10, 2017
  • Sunday, October 8, 2017
  • Sunday, November 12, 2017
  • Sunday, December 10, 2017
  • Sunday, January 14, 2018
  • Sunday, February 11, 2018
  • Sunday, March 11, 2018
  • Sunday, April 8, 2018

Turner Chapel AME Church ‘The Next Episode’ (9:30 am in the Boardroom)

  • Sunday, September 10, 2017
  • Sunday, October 8, 2017
  • Sunday, November 12, 2017
  • Sunday, December 10, 2017
  • Sunday, January 14, 2018
  • Sunday, February 11, 2018
  • Sunday, March 11, 2018
  • Sunday, April 8, 2018

Want to Join a Cohort?

Register at the following link: http://rspublishing.com/college-planning-cohorts/college-planning-cohort-registration/

Register for a Crossroads for Teens Cohort at the following link: http://www.crossroadsforteens.solutions/home.html

Email inquiries: cpc@collegeplanningcohort.com

Registration: Cohort registration is for the academic year of September through May. Currently, we offer a College Planning Cohort Google Classroom for students in grades 9 – 11 and for high school seniors. In January, 2018, we will offer a College Planning Cohort Google Classroom for middle school students, based on the text, “A Middle School Plan for Students with College-Bound Dreams.”

What are the benefits of the College Planning Cohort Google Classroom?

Through our research, the Google Classroom platform offers many benefits to our program:

  • Documents are securely maintained on the Google server and automatically save
  • Documents may be securely shared with parents so that students, parents, facilitators, and cohort leaders are always aware of current actions and student work
  • We will cultivate a synergistic exchange of ideas, hopes, dreams, and college/career aspirations between students as they post comments about what they are learning and how their college plans are taking shape
  • By serving as facilitators, parents, teachers, counselors, or mentors will become part of a national college planning support network for students and families
  • We will provide more focused guidance as we assign supplemental activities based on each student’s dreams, aspirations, and body of work
  • We will provide opportunities for former cohort students to serve as guest lecturers, to share their experiences and provide greater insight into the impact of the activities on their college and scholarship outcomes

Would you like to start a cohort?

While individual students may join our National College Planning Cohort Google Classroom, any group of 5 or more students may form a cohort and we will design a classroom for the student group or community-based organization. While students will complete the same activities, the class will be monitored by a facilitator (e.g., parent, coach, mentor, counselor, teacher, etc.) from the sponsoring group. Cohorts may be formed around a grade level (9 – 12), group (e.g., Boy/Girl Scouts, Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, after school program, etc.), or organization (e.g., fraternity, sorority, Jack and Jill, etc.).

Have a Question?

Contact us at:

Phone: (678) 395-5825
Email: cpc@collegegplanningcohort.com
Website: www.collegeplanningcohort.com

Mail:

College Planning Cohort
P.O. Box 70457
Marietta, GA 30007

August Activities

August 1, 2017

Author: Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)
Editor: Mychal-David Wynn (Amherst College ’13)

Important Changes

This month brings important changes to our College Planning Cohort™ Program. Following is an overview of these changes.

Google Classroom

On September 1, we will begin our College Planning Cohort Google Classrooms. Each classroom will be designed to support a specific cohort. Please review the overview of the classroom in which you may have the opportunity to participate (listed in alphabetical order).

Crossroads for Teens Cohort

All registered students have been added to the classroom and should receive an invitation to sign into the classroom by August 11, 2017. Mr. Wynn will be the instructor and Mr. Patterson will serve as the classroom facilitator. At the regularly scheduled meeting on Sunday, August 13, Mr. Patterson will fully explain the new format. Students must bring a laptop computer to the meeting. The classroom will officially open on September 1.

Guilford County School First Generation Cohort

Students who have submitted a fully completed ‘My Profile’ form will be added to the classroom and should receive login information by August 15, 2017. The classroom will officially open on September 1. Our goal will be for students to complete the four monthly assignments, prior to the monthly meetings, so that we may focus our meeting time on engaging in large and small group discussions. High school seniors are on an aggressive timeline to engage in college and scholarship research, prepare college and scholarship applications, maintain stellar senior-year grades, engage in leadership and community service, build relationships with their top choice colleges, complete the FAFSA, approach teachers for recommendation letters, write essays, and review financial aid award letters. The classroom will be designed to guide students and parents through this process.

The monthly schedule of meetings for the 2017/18 school year will be announced by the Guilford County Schools Diversity Office.

Florence County School District 3 Cohort

All rising Lake City High School seniors, who participated in the boot camp and confirmed their desire to continue participating in the cohort, have been added to the classroom and should receive their login information by August 15, 2017. The classroom will officially open on September 1. However, students may log into the classroom as soon as they receive their login information and complete the pre-registration activities.

The monthly schedule of meetings for the 2017/18 school year will be posted to the classroom as soon as the schedule is finalized by Mr. Ned Blake, principal, Lake City High School.

Turner Chapel AME Church Senior Cohort

Currently, the following students are enrolled in the Turner Chapel AME Church Senior Cohort:

  • Akilah Williams
  • Shelby Brown
  • Summer Ford

Other interested students (who are members of the Turner Chapel AME Church) may contact the Turner Chapel Education Ministry and apply to become part of the TCC Senior cohort or join the 9 – 11 cohort. All participating high school juniors and seniors are required to attend the monthly Next Episode Teen Bible Study sessions.

Turner Chapel AME Church Girl Scouts Cohort

All students registered with Girl Scout Troop Leader, Mrs. Lisa Willis, have been added to the classroom. Other students will be added to the classroom within 3 days of finalizing their registrations. Mr. Wynn is the instructor, Mrs. Kim Sackey is the small group coach, and Mrs. Lisa Willis is the classroom facilitator. The classroom will officially open on September 1. Registered students may begin completing the pre-registration activities as soon as they receive their login information.

United Ghana Christian Church Cohort

All registered students have been added to the classroom and should receive their login information by August 15, 2017. Mr. Wynn will be the classroom instructor and Ms. Nana Birago Adjepong will serve as the classroom facilitator. Students in grades 9 – 11 will be enrolled in the UGCC Cohort and high school seniors will be enrolled in the Turner Chapel AME Church Senior Cohort.

National College Planning Cohort

Students, in grades 9 – 11, who registered for our national college planning cohort in 2016 will have the opportunity to continue receiving assigned activities via our monthly newsletter throughout 2017 at no additional cost. Students who desire to participate in our College Planning Cohort Google Classroom may register for $199.95 per semester or purchase a discounted registration of $349.95 to cover the 2017/18 academic year. Students who purchased their College Planning Cohort registration in 2017 will automatically be placed into the College Planning Cohort Google Classroom at no additional cost for the first semester of the 2017/18 school year and may renew their registration for the second semester at any time prior to January 1, 2018.

High school seniors who are interested in receiving college planning guidance may contact us to set up a 30-minute consultation during which time we will volunteer to provide our suggestions as to your most viable college options.

What are the benefits of the College Planning Cohort Google Classroom?

Through our research, the Google Classroom platform offers many benefits to our program:

  1. Documents are securely maintained on the Google server and automatically save
  2. Documents may be securely shared with parents so that students, parents, facilitators, and cohort leaders are always aware of current actions and student work
  3. We will cultivate a synergistic exchange of ideas, hopes, dreams, and college/career aspirations between students as they post comments of what they are learning and how their college plans are taking shape
  4. By serving as facilitators, parents, teachers, counselors, or mentors will become part of a national college planning support support network for students and families
  5. We will provide more focused guidance as we assign supplemental activities based on each student’s dreams, aspirations, and body of work
  6. We will provide opportunities for former cohort students to serve as ‘guest lecturers,’ to share their experiences and provide greater insight into the impact of the activities on their college and scholarship outcomes

Would you like to start a cohort?

While individual students may join our National College Planning Cohort Google Classroom, any group of 5 or more students may form a cohort and we will design a classroom for the student group or community-based organization. While students will complete the same activities, the class will be monitored by a facilitator (e.g., parent, coach, mentor, counselor, teacher, etc.) from the sponsoring group. Cohorts may be formed around a grade level (9 – 12), group (e.g., Boy/Girl Scouts, Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, after school program, etc.), or organization (e.g., fraternity, sorority, Jack and Jill, etc.).

Cohort Email Address

The primary email address being used to communicate with participating students and families is cpc@collegeplanningcohort.com. The email address through which Google Docs are shared is collegeplanningcohort@gmail.com.

Have a Question?

Contact us at:
Phone: (678) 395-5825
Email: cpc@collegegplanningcohort.com
Website: www.collegeplanningcohort.com

Want to learn more about the complete scope of Mr. Wynn’s work: www.mychalwynn.com

Mail:

College Planning Cohort
P.O. Box 70457
Marietta, GA 30007

cpc@collegeplanningcohort.com.

July Activities

July 1, 2017

Author: Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)
Editor: Mychal-David Wynn (Amherst College ’13)

July College Planning Newsletter

Many of our graduating high school seniors are already immersed in summer programs on their respective college campuses, with many others anxiously awaiting the beginning of classes in August. A word of advice—budget! Those students who will be staying on campus will soon discover how incredibly expensive it is to furnish a space as small as a dormitory room. Housing deposits, meal plans, snacks, personal items, school supplies, health insurance, books, and the many campus-based fees will quickly tally into the thousanCollege Studentsds of dollars. If you have received scholarship checks, please keep the money in the bank and continue applying for scholarships. If your scholarship funds are going to be paid directly to your school, regularly review your student account to ensure the funds have been appropriately credited. Find a trusted advocate (i.e., relative, mentor, clergy, counselor) to assist in monitoring your student account and interacting with your financial aid officer as there are simply too many things that can go awry. Failure to monitor your student account and what your school is charging to your account can quickly result in your taking out a student loan, or expanding your student loan tally, just to make it through your first year.

Similarly, you must identify a trusted advisor to assist in planning your first year schedule of classes. If you have a merit-based scholarship based on your GPA, you must find a balance of first year classes that will support a smooth transition into college and that will allow the best opportunity to earn the necessary grades to avoid losing your scholarship—particularly students who are under strict GPA requirements for state and institutional scholarships. Last year, we successfully lobbied for one of our students to split her science classes between the first and second semesters. Doing so, resulted in her performing well in both classes while many students taking both chemistry and biology in their first semester, together with labs for both classes, did not fare as well.

No matter where you chose to attend school, or your college major, purposeful planning did not end with being accepted into college, but will continue throughout college if you are to graduate on time with minimum student loan debt.

Changes to Our College Planning Cohort (TM) Program

Judson-ISD-Boot-Camp

We are finalizing significant changes to our College Planning Cohort (TM) Program that will begin on September 1. Under our new program, all registered students will have the opportunity to participate in a Google Classroom. We decided to move our program to the Google Classroom platform after experiencing technical challenges at our May College Planning Boot Camp for rising 9th graders in the Judson Independent School District. After observing the many technical challenges with students being able to view YouTube videos, download and upload documents, and access our assignments, the Metzger Middle School Media Specialist, Mr. John Mueller, talked to us about the success that teachers were experiencing using Google Classroom. Consequently, we introduced our first Google Classroom to rising 7th graders at the our June College Planning Boot Camp at Gus Garcia Young Men’s Leadership Academy in Austin, Texas. We believe that the Google Classroom will further expand our students’ college planning experiences through the interactions with the facilitator, small group coach, and other students. We believe this will provide for an even more enriching experience as we facilitate the interaction between students from throughout the United States and Bermuda during the 2017/18 school year.

What is Google Classroom?

For those students who have not already engaged in Google Classrooms at their schools, the Google Classroom is an online platform that facilitates the sharing of documents and assignments, sharing links to videos and websites, and allows students to comment on what they have learned and review the comments of what other students have learned. Several of our cohort students from Guildford County Schools (NC) and from our Georgia cohort earned community service hours by assisting in developing our College Planning Cohort class.

All registered students will have the opportunity to participate in one of two Google Classrooms during the 2017/18 school year. One classroom will be comprised of high school seniors. The second classroom will be comprised of students in grades 6 – 11. Activities will be assigned on the first Saturday of each month and must be completed by the following Friday. Parents are encouraged to observe what their students are learning and how their students are interacting with other students.

Google Classrooms for Individual Cohorts

Our cohort program began in 2013 at the Turner Chapel AME Church in which students in our first cohort were gathered together as ‘Small Groups.’ While we provided the books, materials, and guidance, students were supported by Small Group Coaches, who monitored their work and discussed what they were learning. Our new program returns to this structure as we will establish separate Google Classrooms to support small groups for the Crossroads for Teens Cohort; Guilford County Schools First Generation Cohort; Florence County School District 3 Cohort; Turner Chapel AME Church Cohort; and United Ghana Christian Church Cohort. We will be facilitating the classrooms, which will be monitored by ‘Small Group Coaches.’ We are also expecting to host Jack and Jill of America and Girl Scouts cohorts. The classrooms will be facilitated by us and monitored by a representative of the cohort such as a parent, teacher, counselor, or mentor.

Please contact us if your fraternity, sorority, faith- or community-based organization is interested in forming a cohort. Cohorts may also be formed by parent or student groups who wish to collectively engage in their college planning. For more information, email: cpc@collegeplanningcohort.com.

Our August newsletter will provide further details in preparation for our September 1 kickoff.

July Activities

Our two assigned activities for July are for high school seniors:

  • Senior-year Checklist: The final year of high school promises to be an anxiety-filled year for many high school seniors. There are deadlines, communication with colleges and scholarship providers, interviews, and engaging in college and scholarship research, while working hard to earn impressive grades during the first semester prior to submitting college applications. This activity provides an overview of important tasks that should occur during the summer between your junior and senior year of high school and a checklist to ensure that you are well-prepared and organized as you begin your senior year of high school. These tasks will vary widely among seniors based on their body of work, type of college and program to which they are applying, and how they are ‘branding’ themselves in the college admissions process. For example, students in the creative arts will need to focus on preparing for auditions, developing portfolios, and developing special-focus résumés to showcase their talent. Students with high grades and test scores will be pursuing admission at a broad array of colleges, while students with good grades and low test scores will be more closely research ‘Test Optional’ schools. No matter which pathway each senior is pursuing, there are many tasks, milestones, and deadlines that must be met prior to when the first college or scholarship application is submitted to ensure the best chances of success.
  • Scholarship Research: Parents and students are frequently frustrated by scholarship books in which authors claim, “this is what I did to acquire my scholarship money, so this is all that you need to do.” Perhaps such books might benefit students from similar circumstances, achievement levels, support mechanisms, and with similar personalities; however, a student graduating valedictorian of his high school class, as was the case with the author of one popular scholarship book, has access to different scholarship opportunities than a ‘B’ student. A student with the time and resources to apply for hundreds of scholarships, has access to different scholarship opportunities than a student working long hours after school who does not have access to a high-speed Internet connection. A student with top ACT or SAT scores has access to different scholarship opportunities than an athlete with a 2.5 GPA. While all students can develop financial aid plans reflective of their unique situations, it is not as simple as, “this is what I did to acquire my scholarship money, so this is all that you need to do.”

Important Announcements

Monday, July 10: 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm: Florence County School District 3 high school seniors, middle college rising 10th graders, and their parents are invited to a meeting sharing important information about the July College Planning Boot Camps, and 2017/18 Lake City High School College Planning Cohort. There have been many misunderstandings pertaining to the College Planning Cohort Program, with many students failing to fully understand why participation is critical if students are to avoid student loan debt and make the right college match.

How-Much-Time

Superintendent of Schools, Ms. Laura Hickson, will make comments and refreshments with be served. Please RSVP to cpc@collegeplanningcohort.com or text 770.286.6054.

Tuesday, July 11-13: 9:00 am – 2:00 pm: 3-Day College Planning Boot Camp for rising Lake City High School Seniors. Students will develop a comprehensive college and scholarship plan; set school-year goals; and develop a college admissions and scholarship application time table.

RSVP to confirm your participation: cpc@collegeplanningcohort.com or text 770.286.6054.

Tuesday, July 18-20: 9:00 am – 2:00 pm: 3-Day College Planning Boot Camp for rising Lake City High School Middle College rising 10th graders. Students will review the college and scholarship plans developed during the 2016 College Planning Boot Camp; assess their 2016/17 school-year performance; set 2017/18 school-year goals; update their résumés; and assess where they are in their college admissions and scholarship application time table.

RSVP to confirm your participation: cpc@collegeplanningcohort.com or text 770.286.6054.

August (TBD): The Austin Independent School District will host a College Planning Boot Camp for high school students. Dates, times, and location will be announced in our August newsletter.

August 1, 2017: New student registration will be open for individual cohort students and for organizations desiring to sponsor a cohort. Activities for new students will be assigned on September 1, 2017.

Click here for the blog…​

June Activities

June 1, 2017

Author: Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)
Editor: Mychal-David Wynn (Amherst College ’13)

Congratulations 2017 Cohort Students

May 1 was the enrollment decision deadline for most colleges and universities in the United States. Each year, the journey of our high school graduates informs and inspires future cohort students. While many of our cohort students had impressive outcomes and were blessed with full, or near full scholarship opportunities, one student provided an historic merging of her efforts with the goals of the College Planning Cohort (TM) Program.

Kimberly Hadaway (pictured here) has been under our tutelage since the third grade. Kimberly’s mother, a native of Guyana, was unfamiliar with the nuances of the U.S. Public Education System (i.e., course taking, middle school classes for high school credit, GPA, class rank, college admissions, and financial aid), yet wanted the best opportunities for her daughter. We met Kimberly and her mother at our church and began planning Kimberly’s college-bound trajectory with a single goal–earning a “Full Scholarship.” Beginning with the end in mind, Kimberly’s seven-year middle-through-high school college-bound plan was focused on maximizing her course taking, leadership, and community service opportunities. Kimberly took advantage of the opportunity to take middle school classes for high school credit (Spanish I and Algebra I). Kimberly took the most rigorous schedule of honors and Advanced Placement classes, of which she was capable of earning a final grade of ‘B’ or better, throughout high school. She participated in the marching band for four years, assuming a leadership role as section leader, in addition to assuming leadership roles in a broad range of high school, community, and church-related activities. Kimberly set personal goals and carefully constructed a résumé of grades, test scores, awards, activities, leadership, and service. She then used her résumé, together with well-written essays and supporting letters of recommendation, to support her applications to Diversity Weekends at Swarthmore, Amherst, Williams, and Washington and Lee. The high quality self-presentation, as projected in each application, resulted in her receiving invitations to attend the Diversity Weekends at all four schools. Kimberly would eventually be offered admission and full merit- and need-based scholarships to each of the four schools, as well as to Princeton, Vanderbilt, and Duke. Kimberly was also offered admission to Spelman College, Emory University, Emory Oxford College, Georgia Southern, Howard University, and the Honors College and Meyerhoff Scholars Program at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County,

In total, Kimberly was offered admission to 13 of the 14 colleges to which she applied (Davidson College was the only school to which she was not offered admission), and $1.8 million in scholarships and grants. Kimberly determined that the right college choice for her would be the full need-based scholarship offer from Williams College (including free books for all four years), nestled in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

While the cornerstone of Kimberly’s full scholarship pathway was her academic achievement, several other cohort students successfully packaged themselves as ‘Scholar Athletes’ and actively engaged in identifying the ‘right’ college to which their body of work and college major, positioned themselves for generous institutional scholarship offers. Karmen received a full-tuition scholarship to George Mason, while Justin received a full scholarship, through a combination of private and institutional scholarships, to Dillard University’s dual degree engineering program with Georgia Tech. As a computer science major, Kyrah was offered a full scholarship to Clark Atlanta University, and a generous scholarship to the Center for Women in Technology Program at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. After careful deliberation with her parents, Kyrah’s final college choice was to accept the Presidential Scholarship to Xavier University of Louisiana, where she will enter a dual degree computer science program with Georgia Tech.

Three other scholar athletes, Lanier, Caleb, and Emerald, used their body of work to develop ‘Special-focus Résumés’ and market themselves to their top choice colleges. After contacting several coaches, Lanier landed a combination of academic and athletic awards to provide a full scholarship to Brenau University where she will join the Brenau University Women’s Volleyball Team. After contacting the coach at her top choice school (Coker College), Emerald (pictured here) was invited to join the Coker College Spirit Squad and will be receiving an athletic scholarship to further supplement the generous academic scholarships already received. Caleb, who has already received an out-of-state tuition waiver from Middle Tennessee State University as a result of having applied through the Academic Common Market, will be joining the Middle Tennessee State Track and Field Team with the potential of qualifying for an athletic scholarship.

Guilford County Schools First Generation College Planning Cohort student, Kameron, entered the cohort convinced that he would be studying veterinarian science at North Carolina State University. However, after engaging in exhaustive college and scholarship research, Kameron discovered the ‘right’ college was the University of North Carolina-Wilmington Honors College, where he will meet over 90% of his college costs through institutional and private scholarships.

2017 cohort students in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina where offered admission to many selective institutions, including the number one research institution–Princeton–and the number one liberal arts college–Williams College. However, the goal of our program was, and remains, to assist students in identifying the right college choice and earning the right scholarships, resulting in a no-cost or low-cost college education.

There were too many students participating in our cohort program to list all of their names, however, we would like to recognize those students who will begin a ‘cost-free’ or near cost-free college journey as the result of matching to the right colleges:

  • Alexxus (Lake City High School) has a ‘cost-free’ college start at Williamsburg Technical College.
  • Brandy (Lake City High School) has a ‘cost-free’ college start at Greenville Technical College.
  • Emerald (Lake City High School) is on track to receive near 100% funding (academic and athletic) of her education at Coker College.
  • Dyesha (Lake City High School) has a ‘cost-free’ college start at Florence-Darlington Technical College.
  • Justin (Hillgrove High School) has a full scholarship to Dillard University, through a combination of funding from a $50,000 MC Lyte and Hip Hop Sisters Foundation Scholarship and Dillard University Merit Scholarships.
  • Kai (Marietta High School) has a full scholarship to Tennessee State University.
  • Kameron (Southern Guilford High School) has received near 100% funding of his education at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington Honors College.
  • Karmen (North Guilford High School) has a full-tuition scholarship to George Mason University.
  • Kimbre’ana (Lake City High School) has a ‘cost-free’ college start at Florence-Darlington Technical College.
  • Kyrah (North Cobb High School) was offered a full scholarship to Clark Atlanta University and has accepted the Presidential Scholarship to Xavier University of Louisiana.
  • Lanier (North Paulding County High School) has a full scholarship (athletic and academic) to Brenau University where she will become a member of the Women’s Volleyball Team.
  • Marle’na (Lake City High School) has a ‘cost-free’ college start at Florence-Darlington Technical College.
  • Morgan (Hillgrove High School) was offered a full scholarship to Indiana University of Purdue University-Indianapolis and has accepted a near full scholarship to attend the University of Pittsburgh.
  • Nicholas (Dudley High School) has a ‘cost-free’ college start at Guilford Technical Community College.
  • Samuel (Walton High School) was offered a full scholarship to Amherst College, and has accepted the Meyerhoff Scholars Scholarship to attend the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.
  • Shykesia (Lake City High School) has a ‘cost-free’ college start at Florence-Darlington Technical College.
  • Taylor (Lake City High School) has a full scholarship to the University of South Carolina-Columbia.
  • Tiffany (Lake City High School) has a ‘cost-free’ college start at Greenville Technical College.
  • Travon (Lake City High School) has a ‘cost-free’ college start at Florence-Darlington Technical College.
  • Tyrone (Lake City High School) has a ‘cost-free’ college start at Florence-Darlington Tech.
  • Vince (Lake City High School) has a full scholarship to the University of South Carolina-Sumter where he will become a member of the USC-Sumter baseball team.

Whether a student is beginning college at Williams College or Williamsburg Technical College, the primary focus of the College Planning Cohort Program (TM) is to assist each student in identifying the college choice that reduces (or eliminates) their college cost and increases the likelihood of on-time degree attainment (AA, BA, MA, or PhD).

June Activities

Our summer activities are exclusively focused on rising high school seniors. Students in grades 6 – 11 should take advantage of the summer opportunities to work, visit colleges, strengthen academic weaknesses, engage in test prep, and further develop their gifts and talents.

There are only two assigned activities for rising high school seniors for the month of June:

After completing the My Senior-Year Profile and My Story activities, students participating in Small Groups should submit their essay, completed forms, and other documents associated with the activities to their Small Group Coach or mentor. Students participating in a College Planning Cohort, in which Mr. and Mrs. Wynn are serving as the Small Group Coaches must submit their documents, via email, to cpc@collegeplanningcohort.com.

College Planning Boot Camps

This summer, we will be hosting a full schedule of College Planning Boot Camps. Our first Boot Camp, for rising 9th graders in the Judson Independent School District, was held at Metzger Middle School. The 3-day, 8:30 am – 2:30 pm, boot camp was a huge success. Students created comprehensive four-year high school course schedules, clearly-defined goals, and college-bound plans consistent with pursuing their college and career aspirations.

College Planning Boot Camp dates are still being finalized for Florence County School District Three (SC) rising 9th, 10th, and 12th graders, and Austin ISD (TX) rising 9th graders in the Middle College Program and rising high school seniors. Interested students should contact our office cpc@collegeplanningcohort.com.

May Activities

May 1, 2017

Author: Mychal Wynn (Northeastern ’79)
Editor: Mychal-David Wynn (Amherst College ’13)

Why the Cohort is So Important

The photograph used in this month’s blog posting reflects the annual high school graduation celebration worship service, hosted during May for the past ten years at the Turner Chapel AME Church in Marietta, Georgia. This year, ten of the graduates also participated in our 2017 TCC College Planning Cohort, many of whom will be attending college on full scholarships.

This time last year, we opened the May newsletter and blog posting with the illustration below, taken from the report, Four-Year Myth: Making College More Affordable (Complete College America, 2014). The report notes that only 5 out of every 100 community college students receive their associate’s degree on-time and that at the country’s top 4-year public universities, only 36 out of every 100 students receive their bachelor’s degree on time. 4-year graduation rates at the institutions to which current cohort students were offered admission range from 90% at Princeton University and Davidson College to 12.7% at Morris College and 15% at South Carolina State University. 4-year graduation rates at state flagship universities range from 80% at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill to 38% at the University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa.

Graduation-Rates-are-Too-Low

While any student who does not have a clear college-bound plan is at risk of enrolling into the wrong institution, the article by Catherine Gewertz, Income-Based Gaps in College Attainment Have Worsened Since 1970, Report Finds” notes that students from lower income families make up only 23 percent college graduates. Part of the reason for this huge gap is that students from lower income backgrounds are more likely to choose colleges with lower graduation rates.

“One reason for the schism in degree attainment, according to the report, is the types of institutions students attend. Students from the bottom two income quartiles more often enroll in colleges with lower graduation rates than do those from wealthier families, the report says.” (Education Week, 2016)

 

Developing an elementary-through-high school college-bound plan that will qualify students to be accepted into the ‘right’ colleges can significantly increase the chances of a student receiving his or her degree and avoiding thousands of dollars in student loan debt.

Today is Decision Day

April was the final month of the cohort experience for high school seniors. With the exception of colleges operating on ‘Rolling Admissions,’ today is the enrollment decision deadline for most 4-year U.S. colleges and universities. High school seniors may pause for a moment of self-reflective examination of what they did, or wish they had done, in determining the range of college and scholarship options and opportunities from which they may choose. However, for today’s high school juniors (and their parents), there are important lessons to be learned from the experiences of current high school seniors.

Resistance to developing a ‘realistic college list.’ Popular Facebook postings, and sensationalized news headlines, celebrate high school seniors who received offer letters from 25 or more colleges. However, while such headlines frequently state that students ‘received hundredsScreen-Shot-2016-04-13-at-8.34.27-AM of thousands of dollars in scholarships,’ the reality is that students received ‘scholarship offers,’ none of which may have offered a full scholarship to any one college and none of the ‘hundreds of thousands of dollars’ in institutional scholarships can be used at any college other than the one college offering the scholarship. The unfortunate reality is that many seniors focused far too much attention on ‘getting in’ and far too little attention on ‘getting it paid for,’ a harsh reality confronting many students. What really is a sensational news story, is that one of our seniors applied to 12 schools, was offered admission to all 12 schools, was offered scholarships to all 12 schools, but most importantly, was offered full scholarships to 9 of the schools. Thus, 9 of the schools were the ‘right’ schools.

Her final decision came down to 2 schools that offered full scholarships and 1 school that had a great program, but whose scholarship money left a financial aid gap and the prospect of her accepting student loans or burdening her mother with loan debt. The right choice was accepting a full scholarship (which included free books and assistance with transportation expenses), offered by one of the country’s top liberal arts colleges. Students who failed to make the right college choice, will be assuming a huge amount of student loan debt, which they and their parents, will be paying for their college choice for many years into the future, whether they receive a degree or not.

Receiving a ‘Wake-up Call’ in the final days. Perhaps their grades and test scores did not reach into scholarship ranges; perhaps their top choice college did not offer the type of financial aid awards needed to avoid thousands of dollars in student loan debt; or, perhaps their gifts and talents were enough to gain an offer of admission, but not enough to receive a substantial scholarship offer—consequently, many students have made thoughtful decisions to begin their college experience in community college, with transfer plans into a 4-year institution. Such students have chosen to avoid assuming thousands of dollars in student loans, while developing comprehensive plans to attend community college, earn top grades, and qualify for transfer scholarships when they continue on into 4-year institutions to complete their undergraduate education. Other students will begin at lower-cost public institutions with similar plans of attaining top grades and earning their way into transferring, with scholarships in hand, to one of their top choice colleges.

Outcomes reflect work ethic. The activities assigned to cohort students over the course of the past year were designed to expand college admission and scholarship opportunities by putting as many pieces of the college planning puzzle into place as possible—taking the right classes, earning the right grades, attaining the right test scores, researching the right colleges, identifying the right scholarships, writing the right essays, and developing the right ‘hook.’ Additional pieces required developing high quality résumés, supported by high quality recommendation letters, undergirded by high quality teacher/counselor evaluations, and promoted through high quality email signatures, resulting in a distinguishable high quality ‘brand.’

As a result of their work, throughout high school, and through the college planning process, many students have been offered a huge amount of institutional grants and scholarships to reduce, or eliminate, their reliance on student loan debt. In our June newsletter and blog posting, we will share the complete list of colleges to which cohort students were offered admission and the staggering amount of scholarship money awarded to our 2017 seniors as we wish them well for the next phase of their journey.

What Should You Have Learned From the April Activities?

The April Blog posting outlined important milestones that you should have attained:

  • Milestone #1: An Academic Résumé
  • Milestone #2: Know Your Brand
  • Milestone #3: Email Signature
  • Milestone #4: Align Your GPA, Classes, and Scores with Your College Aspirations
  • Milestone #5: Know Who You Are

As a result of the January through April activities, you should have engaged in meaningful self-reflection. You should have expanded your awareness of how closely your body of work (i.e., grades, test scores, class rank, community service, leadership, and extracurricular activities) is aligned with your college/career aspirations. For example, are you currently a competitive candidate for being offered admission into the institutions on your preliminary college list? Are you a competitive candidate for merit-based scholarships? If you are from a lower income family, are you currently earning the grades and test scores needed to be offered admission into a selective school (e.g., Princeton, Duke, Amherst) that will provide you with a ‘no-loans’ financial aid package? If you have gifts and talents, have you developed them to scholarship potential and identified the colleges offering scholarships for your meritorious areas of achievement?

The ‘Common Data Set’ activity provided critically important insight into the type of students the colleges on your preliminary college list admit and the type of attributes each institution is seeking in structuring its freshman class. The ‘Teacher/Counselor Evaluations’ activity may have resulted in awkward conversations pertaining to how your counselor and current teachers evaluate you as a student. However, better now than later. Whatever, their assessment, knowing how you compare to others in your class, how your course schedule compares to others in your school, and whether or not you are distinguishing yourself through clubs, activities, and leadership in your community, will help you to predict your chances of making the first cut, i.e., ‘How You Compare to Students in Your School and Community.’ Depending on where you apply to college, you will be evaluated first, against students in your school and community, then against students in your school district, state, and country of national origin. Within each of these pools of students, you will be further evaluated based on your race, gender, socioeconomic backgrounds, and gifts and talents.

APs

The ‘Planning Your Course Schedule’ activity provided a context for seeking guidance from your parents, teachers, and counselor, whether developing your course schedule for your final year of high school, or outlining the 7-year middle-through-high school classes and grades needed to position yourself for being offered admission into top colleges and being offered generous need- or merit-based financial aid awards. The rigor of your course schedule, type of classes you chose to take, and grades earned will be carefully scrutinized by college admissions officers and scholarship providers. Their review will either identify you as a competitive candidate for being offered admission or a scholarship, or move your application to the bottom of the stack, behind those of thousands of other more qualified candidates.

The final April activity, ‘Commencement and Other Recognition,’ is a forward thinking activity, i.e., “How do I wish to be recognized at my high school graduation?” Identifying, and planning to qualify for recognition at your high school commencement exercises will offer memorable moments for your parents. However, having these areas of recognition reflected on your résumé and college applications will result in thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarship and financial aid offers.

May Activities

Building Blocks

The four assigned activities for May are designed to further focus your college and scholarship efforts and more clearly define your college list. Based on your projected EFC, as a result of having completed the ‘FAFSA—The Key to Unlocking Financial Aid’ activity, you must now focus your college research on institutions most closely aligned with your body of work (i.e., grades, test scores, gifts and talents) and your family’s financial circumstances. Students with high EFCs must focus their efforts on colleges and universities with merit-based scholarship opportunities, while students who qualify for the U.S. Pell Grant may expand their college research to institutions offering both need- and merit-based financial aid policies.

When constructing your college list, a sound approach is to identify colleges where your current ACT scores are within 2 points, and SAT scores within 100 points, of the median scores of admitted students. This will assure that you develop a ‘matched’ set of colleges. If you have not taken either the SAT or ACT, or currently have low test scores, you must thoughtfully revisit the previously assigned ‘Test Optional Colleges’ activity. To expand your college and scholarship opportunities, you must make every effort to achieve your target test scores no later than the June exam.

  1. Merit-based Aid
  2. The Net Price Calculator 
  3. Tuition Reciprocity Agreements
  4. Finalizing My College List

Perhaps the greatest lesson to be learned from the experiences of current seniors, is that your efforts will largely determine your outcomes. Completing the once weekly cohort activities is not something that must be done, “in addition to high school,” but must be done as a part of your high school experience. For example, this time last year, many cohort students deemed the ‘Diversity Weekends’ activity to be a waste of time if their top choice colleges did not offer diversity weekends. So instead of expanding their college list, they chose to be dismissive of the activity. One student made a very different decision, choosing instead to embrace the activity. As a result of her efforts in developing high quality diversity weekend applications and writing high quality essays, she was invited to diversity weekends at Amherst, Williams, Swarthmore, and Washington and Lee—all schools to which she subsequently applied for admission. Having developed a relationship with each of these schools, through their diversity weekend opportunities, the student was offered admission to all four schools, AND, offered full scholarships to all four schools. The students’ only regret is that she did not apply to even more diversity weekend opportunities, as many of the students whom she met at multiple diversity weekends were planning to attend a dozen or more such opportunities.

As previously stated, it is not about how many colleges to which you will be offered admission, but whether or not you will be offered admission by the ‘right’ colleges.

Monthly Meetings

Atlanta-area

We apologize for technical difficulties experienced in our April conference call. We will host our next conference call on Thursday, May 4, 2017 from 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm. The phone number is 1-712-775-7031; Access Code is 761141.

Crossroads for Teens

We had a great April meeting with students and parents working from their laptop computers. We have nominated several students Discover Swarthmore and are excited about the number of students engaged in thoughtful research of liberal arts colleges and diversity weekend opportunities. Unfortunately, we will not be able to host a face-to-face meeting during May, but invite all students and parents to join us on the conference call.

Florence County School District 3

April was our final meeting with high school seniors and we are awaiting the dates for the summer boot camps for rising Middle College students, high school juniors, and high school seniors. ‘The Journey Continues,’ a celebration and awards presentation is planned for Saturday, May 13, 2017 at Lake City High School.

Guilford County Schools First Generation

We had a great April meeting. Our next meeting at the Guilford Technical Community College-Greensboro Campus will be on Saturday, May 20, 2017 from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm.

Turner Chapel AME Church 

graduation-ceremonyOn Sunday, May 28, 2017 we will host our 10th Annual Turner Chapel AME Church High School Graduation Celebration Worship Service (Marietta, GA), at which time we will be recognizing our graduating seniors, announcing their final college choices, and celebrating their journey with their families, coaches, teachers, counselors, and neighbors, who are all invited to share in the worship experience and message from Youth Pastor, Rev. Don Ezell. The worship service will begin at 9:30 am. Please join us as we celebrate the completion of one journey and beginning of another for both students and families. It is an awesome, inspiring, and spirit-filled worship service unlike anything that you have ever experienced.

United Ghana Christian Church

The monthly narratives being submitted by students in the United Ghana Christian Church Cohort continue to show great progress as a result of the hard work of students and support of mentors working together on the first Sunday of each month.

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College Planning Boot Camps

This summer, we will be hosting a full schedule of College Planning Boot Camps. Our first Boot Camp will be held for rising 9th graders who will be attending the Judson ISD (TX) Early College Academy. The 3-day session will be held at Metzger Middle School from May 17 – 19, 2017, from 8:00 am – 2:30 pm. While the dates have not been finalized, Boot Camps are also planned for Florence County School District Three (SC) rising 9th, 10th, and 12th graders; and Austin ISD (TX) rising 9th graders in the Middle College Program and rising high school seniors.