July 22, 2016

Broadening college aspirations at the fourth annual College Bound Academy

With college admission becoming more and more competitive each year, incoming seniors across the country use their summer break to start their college applications. For many, especially first-generation, college-bound students, this process can be daunting and stressful. With this in in mind, the Tiger Woods Learning Center hosted its fourth annual College Bound Academy this summer. This unique opportunity allows students to broaden their knowledge of the college admissions process and financial aid for four-year colleges and universities.

One of the main objectives of this program is to help students evaluate what they need and want from a college. Posing questions such as, ‘Besides getting an education, what are the other reasons you are going to college?’ and ‘What will challenge you to grow the most in college?‘, these students had the opportunity for self-reflection that may have otherwise been left out of the process.   

In addition, these rising seniors have the opportunity to expand their current knowledge of four-year institutions through college visits and informative workshops. While most of these students have ample knowledge of the UC and Cal State campuses, few are familiar with or have considered private liberal arts colleges. The program strives to open up this option by giving them the opportunity to tour two of the four Claremont Colleges located in Claremont, California. Furthermore, this program made students aware of the resources available to make out-of-state institutions a possibility. They were thrilled to discover that many liberal arts colleges host fly-in programs, which allows them to travel to out-of-state colleges through an all-expense paid trip. 

Once aware of their options, the program walked these students through the steps of successful admission. Beyond simply telling them what makes a solid application, they were able to take on the role of admissions counselors to admit, deny or waitlist applicants in a common application case study. This interactive experience allowed students to transition into taking apart the application and focus on its multiple facets one at a time. Students were made knowledgeable of the requirements for the three different applications, began to draft their personal statement and reviewed strategies to ace the dreaded standardized tests. They also participated in workshops to further understand financial aid and become acquainted with useful websites to apply for scholarships. 

The academy does not end after two weeks, however. As program manager Denisse Jover mentioned, one of the best parts about this program is that “toward the end of the academy they will know how much of a support system we really provide.” The academy meets once a month, and the students are also welcome to participate in college visits that take place at the Tiger Woods Learning Center. The program will conclude next summer with a one-day workshop in June to make sure participants are ready to go off to the college of their choice!  

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