College Advocate’s summer newsletter was our first newsletter written entirely by College Advocate scholars (with one article from a current Spelman College student). The newsletter includes articles about the college application process, the first year of college, a spotlight on College Advocate scholar DaJohn Hart and news about College Advocate’s SAT score increases.
The College Advocate scholars visited 4 more great institutions from July 27-29. With travel music playing (Beyonce Knowles’ new album), we took a road trip down to Durham, NC. The 12-passenger van was a big gas guzzler, but thankfully the gas prices decreased as we traveled further south. Our first stop was the beautiful Duke University. Before the official college tour, we had the great fortune of visiting Duke’s Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture. The Center’s Director, Chandra Guinn, along with her staff, gave College Advocate scholars a wonderful reception.
Next, we toured North Carolina A&T State University. We were very impressed with the strength of their engineering program. After the tour, one student decided that they were absolutely applying to A&T.
We traveled only 15 minutes and we arrived at Guilford College. As a test optional college, Guilford provides a nice alternative to many students who worry about the strength of their SAT scores.
Last, we visited Elon University. Elon was a huge hit! Before our trip, the scholars had never heard of Elon. However, after the tour, every scholar plans to apply. Our scholars like that all Elon students must engage in one of the “Elon Experiences” before they can graduate. These experiences include studying abroad, leading student organizations and doing internships, volunteer service and undergraduate research.
The College Advocate scholars visited 2 more prestigious institutions on July 22. University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) and Haverford College. UPenn is an Ivy League school located in Philadelphia, PA. Haverford College is a private, liberal arts college located about 30 minutes outside of Philadelphia. Despite the heat index of 110 degrees, and leaving DC at an ungodly 5:30am, we had a great time.
UPenn was a big hit! One College Advocate scholar was particularly excited to learn about UPenn’s Huntsman Program. “The Huntsman Program in International Studies & Business is a unique, four-year interdisciplinary undergraduate course of study that integrates business education, advanced language training and a liberal arts education. Huntsman students earn two degrees — a B.A. in International Studies from the School of Arts and Sciences and a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School. Huntsman students specialize in the area of the world in which their target language is spoken and graduate with a nuanced understanding of the political, economic and cultural complexities in a changing world.”
Road Trip! The College Advocate scholars visited 2 more prestigious institutions last week. Lafayette & Muhlenberg Colleges are private, liberal arts colleges located in Eastern Pennsylvania. We had a blast! We jumped in a van with 7 students, a chaperone, and headed north. Four hours later, we were there! Piece of cake! Upon our arrival, we met with the tour guides who customized our tour to match the interests of the group. Along with great guides, we made sure that our students got the most out of their college tour experiences.
Lafayette College is a Posse Foundation partner. The Posse Foundation is a nonprofit organization that identifies, recruits, and trains student leaders from public high schools to form multicultural teams called “Posses” of 10 to 12 Posse Scholars. These teams are then prepared, through an intensive eight-month Pre-Collegiate Training Program, for enrollment at top-tier universities nationwide to pursue their academics and to help promote cross-cultural communication on college campuses. Some of our students are interested in becoming Posse Scholars.
The Muhlenberg College campus is gorgeous. We took tons of photos. See one below. Four of our students loved Muhlenberg College. They said they will definitely apply. Before our trip, they had never heard of Muhlenberg! So, it was great that we introduced them to such a great institution. Especially since many of our students want to study medicine and Muhlenberg has an excellent “pre-med” program. Ninety percent of their “pre-med” students gain admission to medical school.
Muhlenberg’s admission counselors were excited to have us visit. They want to admit students that are genuinely interested in attending their school. If you visit their school and apply for admission, then you are a more competitive candidate for Muhlenberg. Thus, our scholars have a small, but significant, leg up above other applicants.
After months of rigorous training and preparation, we finally have completed our spring SAT exams. Of the College Advocate scholars who successfully completed the first set of SAT preparatory classes, our scores increased by an average of one hundred fifty (150) points. It is expected for this average to increase even more after we take the exam twice again in the fall. We are also required to take two SAT Subject Tests that will enhance our college applications. Colleges will use these tests to gain a more complete understanding of our academic strengths and interests. In addition, a Subject Test can act as a placement test for different level courses in the school. Richard Thompkins, College Advocate’s SAT preparatory instructor, is continuously pushing us to practice for these tests during our free time.
We begin a second set of SAT preparatory classes on July 16. Taking classes over the summer is no fun, however, we are confident that the time spent will pay off – to the tune of higher SAT scores. Our improved SAT scores will help us get into our dream schools with sufficient financial aid.
On Saturday, College Advocate hosted a Mock Admissions Panel in collaboration with Wesleyan University. The Panel allowed our scholars to review a few real college admissions applications (including, a student’s grades, application, essay, test scores, etc.) from past applicants to Wesleyan University and learn which applicants Wesleyan admitted, wait listed, or declined (with actual identities concealed of course). And, most importantly why.
The panel gave our scholars the opportunity to learn what selective colleges consider when making admissions decisions, and how they weigh standardized test scores, extracurricular activities, grades, and more. And, they learned all this from someone that actually reviews applications – Wesleyan’s Associate Dean of Admission Jillian BairdBurnett.
College Advocate introduced Dartmouth to our scholars and of course Dartmouth was impressed! Dartmouth invited three College Advocate scholars to participate in their 2011 Dartmouth Bound Summer Program.
As Dartmouth Bound participants, they will have the opportunity to experience Dartmouth’s academic life, explore their campus and facilities, meet with students and admissions staff, and learn more about the college admissions and financial aid process. College Advocate scholars will attend regularly scheduled classes and also a special Dartmouth Bound seminar led by one of their featured faculty members that explores some of the great issues facing our society.
College Advocate scholars finished their first round of SAT preparatory classes on April 30th. We commend our scholars for their dedication to improving their SAT scores. Each of our scholars has been working hard to get good grades in their courses (many of which are honors and advanced placement courses). In addition, they are involved in extracurricular activities, community service activities, family-related obligations, and part-time jobs. Thus, we are quite proud of their decision to spend twelve Saturday afternoons in SAT prep with College Advocate. And scholars have great reason to celebrate … our last timed practice SAT test had an average score increase of 145 points!
Special congratulations to College Advocate scholar, Joy S., who received College Advocate’s Award for Perfect Attendance!
Every year, for the last six years, Wesleyan University sponsors a gathering of educators and representatives from some of the nation’s premier organizations serving college-bound students. This year, Wesleyan University invited College Advocate. At the conference, College Advocate staff had the opportunity to participate in an extended dialogue about equal access to selective institutions of higher education and the achievement of sustained student achievement at top-tier institutions like Wesleyan University. As a result of the conference, College Advocate staff is up to speed on how to successfully advise students on whether Wesleyan University is a good fit and the best way for them to stand out in a large pool of candidates.
College Advocate scholars loved Evanston, Illinois, and many of them are strongly considering applying to Northwestern University. One scholar, Kiera, said, “I am so happy that College Advocate took me on college tours in Chicago. Not only did I fly on an airplane for the first time, but I also discovered investment banking and finance [Loop Capital hosted an information session and tour of their downtown Chicago investment bank]. I am happy that I visited Northwestern University because I loved it and I intend to apply there this fall.”
In addition to Northwestern University, our scholars visited University of Chicago and University of Illinois – Urbana/Champaign. College Advocate scholar, Aushiney, is now very interested in the College of Engineering at Univ. of Illinois and plans to apply there in the fall.