The Earl Woods Scholar Program Expands D.C. Model
Now in its 11th year, the Earl Woods Scholar Program has grown tremendously, providing 194 students with college scholarships, to date. However, guided by the belief that we can always do better, the Tiger Woods Foundation and the Earl Woods Scholar Program has its sights set on doubling the number of scholars we reach. To set that goal in motion, we’re excited to announce the recent expansion of our Washington, D.C. scholar program.
In the Earl Woods Scholar Program, we simultaneously select students in their high school junior and senior years.. For the past eight years, the high school junior selection process was unique only to our scholars based in Orange County. In addition to the benefits our scholars receive while in college, this group receives additional support during one of the most overwhelming years in their lives, their senior year of high school. The success of this model has proved to be incredibly valuable and the reach we’ve had with being able to work in-house with our scholars during this time has led to unquantifiable results.
With that in mind, it became obvious to expand this model to the East Coast. We’re excited to bring this model of the scholar program to Washington D.C. In September of 2016, we invited nine D.C. high schools to participate and select students for our inaugural cohort. In total, we received 146 student nominations from high school counselors. We conducted presentations for the nominated students and invited them to apply to a two-stage application process that includes multiple personal statements and an in-person interview. We’re thrilled to finally welcome ten new scholars from D.C. for the Class of 2022.
In the upcoming year, we plan to work very closely with this group to provide the support necessary for our scholars to find their success. Many times, the scholars who are selected in the program are the first ones in their family to go to college and have overcome all types of obstacles to become well rounded, academically strong, high achieving students. Despite their overall exceptionalism, our scholars and their families are still starting from square one when asked to navigate the complexities of the college admissions process.
Upon acceptance to our program, we host a student-parent orientation, welcoming these new families into our own. We make it a priority to develop strong relationships with the families we work with, whether that comes from visiting their homes or by sharing a cup of coffee together in a local coffee shop. We do this not only to gain a glimpse of where our scholars come from but because we understand how vital it is to ensure trust between our staff and the scholar’s family. That trust is so essential, especially when the college search begins and we encourage their children research colleges that are located on the other side of the country.
In fact, being able to work with our scholars during their senior year lets us emphasize the importance of exploring colleges and universities that are outside of their world view; another key benefit to welcoming our students into the program as juniors. While many students recognize the big-name schools, we push them to research beyond rankings and lists and to truly explore to find their college fit. We plan to host multiple information sessions from a diverse list of schools so that our students are exposed to colleges that they would otherwise have never considered. We want our scholars to find a school where they will grow and flourish in, not somewhere they thought they were supposed to go.
We also make sure our students are well prepared before we send them off to their next four years. The program reviews every financial aid package that our students receive, making sure all parties are actively involved when making sense of the numbers. Every scholar and their family will be able to know where they stand financially when starting school.
Of course, the end of their senior year isn’t the end of our relationship. It’s just the beginning! Our scholars are lifelong members of the Earl Woods Scholar family and our work with them carries on throughout their four years of college and beyond.
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