May 17, 2016

A strong start for high school seniors

One unique aspect to the process of selecting prospective students for the Earl Woods Scholarship is that we also set aside another group of students who are selected as juniors in the spring. These students receive an additional year of guidance during one of the most overwhelming years in their lives — their senior year of high school. We take special pride in working with these students during their senior year as it allows us to develop strong relationships with their families, provide guidance in exploring all types of colleges and make sure that each student leaves high school with complete and thorough information of where they stand financially.

Often, the scholars who are selected in this group 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 archaic complexities of the college admissions process. School counselors, who can have caseloads of up to 500 students, don’t have the resources to provide the individual attention that these first-generation students need. 

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 — especially when we have their children research colleges that are located on the other side of the country.  

That’s another key benefit. Being able to work with scholars during their senior year of high school lets us emphasize the importance of exploring colleges and universities that are outside of their worldview. While many students recognize the big-name schools, we push them to research beyond rankings and lists and to truly explore in order to find their best college fit. We host information sessions from a diverse list of schools so our students are exposed to colleges they would otherwise have no knowledge of. We want our scholars to find a school where they will grow and flourish, not somewhere they thought they had 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 involved when making sense of the numbers, so every scholar 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; we have them in our scholarship program until they graduate from college and beyond. It’s an honor to walk beside them on their incredible journeys.

Learn more about the multi-faceted Earl Woods Scholarship Program.

Champions of the unexpected for 20 years.