College Bound’s annual Senior Retreat was held from August 24-25, 2012 at the Embassy Suites in Downtown, DC. This retreat is an opportunity for students to get a jumpstart on their college application process and learn more about application specifics for the schools they intend to apply to.
The retreat began with a welcome address from Kenneth Ward, Executive Director. He challenged students to absorb as much as they can from this retreat and to follow the timeline to ensure that their senior year is less stressful. There were 23 students in all who attended the retreat.
The first session was a writing workshop conducted by Loddi Joyner, a staff writer for the Crisis magazine. She began by giving students several short answer questions that they can later turn into college or scholarship application essays. She followed by having students discuss a few hot topics. This discussion gave the students a chance to articulate their positions and provide insight into larger social issues. She then gave students writing topics at random and students wrote a 5 paragraph essay based on that. These topics mirrored the essays that they will complete for their college and scholarship applications. One student, Kiara Grantham, was able to share her essay with the group that detailed what she would do if money was not an obstacle.
The College Bound staff presented to students about the senior year timeline that they should follow. This tool is used to ensure that students are taking the necessary steps each month so they can complete all their college applications and scholarships in a timely manner. We were able to get a better understanding of where each student was in the application process and help them get caught up.
Following lunch, Trayon Brady, a DC CAP representative, gave students a detailed breakdown of the application process for DC TAG and the role of the DC CAP office in their applications. He explained to students the particular schools that DC CAP awards money for, the difference between public and private institutions, and how much DC TAG awards for each. Students were eager to hear about his college experience and some of the lessons he passed on to them. Students were able to get a better understanding of tuition and the colleges they can attend with the help of DC TAG.
Afterwards, there was a presentation by Rosie Walker from Trinity University. She presented to students about various support services on campus. She spoke about Academic Support on campus, such as tutoring, and challenged students to take advantage of these while on campus. She touched on Mental Health services and their importance to students; she put into perspective that students usually have a hard time transitioning from high school and need to speak with someone to help them through the process. She explained what a first-generation college student is and the specific programs at each University that provide the necessary support that students may not receive from their families. She spoke about services for minority students on campus that can help with the adjustment and exposes students to other students that are similar to them.
The program coordinators, Toronto and Inatimi, presented about time management to students and creating their recommendation packets. Students were exposed to a sample resume and to include cover letters with their applications. Students were advised on different people that they may ask for recommendations from and to ask individuals who can write a favorable recommendation. They were given a brag sheet outline to complete and give to each individual that will write them a letter of recommendation.
On Saturday morning, Erin McKan opened with an admissions presentation where she went over the entire admissions process and proper etiquette when contacting schools. She explained how to contact the schools, and what the admissions counselors see when they read applications. She explained to students about the interview process and keeping a professional appearance and demeanor when dealing with anyone from a potential school.
College Bound Board Chair, Rita Kirshstein, presented to students about “Finding the right fit”. She first presented the economic disparities between college graduates and their counterparts with only a high school diploma. Students were then explained the difference between private and public universities and how various schools are categorized. She explained the diversity among schools, what area they are located in, the ethnic or religious makeup of their students. At the summation of her presentation, Rita and three of the other college advisors worked with small groups of students to give them individualized feedback on their stage in the application process and help them find realistic school choices. Students were able to narrow down the schools they will apply to and get specific next steps to follow for their application process.
Thu, August 30, 2012
by Inatimi Oguara