Camp College ambitions to assist college students transition to and prevail

Kira served on her faculty’s Honor Council, but her college counselor stated she coasted thru some of her greater difficult classes.

Stephen is the son of immigrants who own their personal eating place, and he has excelled in Advanced Placement students transition to and prevail

These four “college students” are imaginary. They have still based on real university applications that Hamilton County college students analyzed this week to decide who they might admit if they were admissions counselors.

The students examined application essays, checked out transcripts, compared grades to courses, and analyzed instructor advice letters. “Her essay is all around the vicinity,” stated Aaliyah Parrish, a growing senior at Brainerd High School, of one of the mock packages during the small group session. “The prompt asks you to talk approximately one perception, no longer a gaggle of them.”

Albani Wyatt, a growing senior at Sequoyah High, agreed. “She’s a contradicting herself,” Wyatt stated. “What does she say she needs her important to be? Is she simply going to stick with that, due to the fact she cannot persist with her ideas?”

The activity changed into one among numerous reports that almost one hundred college students have taken part in this week thru the Public Education Foundation’s Camp College application. In its 21st 12 months, the software unites economically disadvantaged students from across Hamilton County and objectives to equip them with the understanding and resources they need to follow, sign up, and the whole college successfully.

Stacey Lightfoot — the “Mother of Camp College,” as PEF President Dan Challenger known as her Friday, and PEF’s VP of college and profession success — said the pastime and the program itself are meant to expose students to possibilities and give them insight into how the university admission system works. “If you don’t see it and aren’t uncovered to it, you don’t know,” Lightfoot stated. “[The program] is in-depth. We’re constructing abilities and assisting college students in apprehending how admissions work and getting ready for the transition.”

The case look at hobbies turned into led utilizing college members of the camp and admissions counselors from dozens of faculties and universities and PEF employees. The college students debated which of the 4 mock college students would be accepted to their university and unraveled how university admissions counselors suppose. “Most counselors in public colleges are not educated on university counseling,” said Brandi Smith, a university counselor at Marietta High in Georgia. “They’re dealing with social and emotional problems, case-control, and a large variety of college students, whereas non-public faculty counselors often come from university admissions.”

Smith said that supposed that at colleges wherein the counselor-to-scholar ratios are frequently within the loads to one, students don’t always have to get entry to many resources. The 3-day program is made feasible every summer season way to the Public Education Foundation, personal investment, and donations from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UBS, and the Lillian L. Colby Charitable Foundation. Every 12 months, it’s been hosted at Sewanee: The University Of The South, and dozens of individuals of the Southern Association for College Admission Counseling make time to paintings with the students.

Many of the students are first-generation university college students. They haven’t had a parent or member of the family navigate the software manner and all its intricacies — using for monetary aid, selecting a chief, studying scholarships, etc. Through crew-constructing sports, resume- and essay-writing workshops, and seminars on the way to do an interview or identify commercial enterprise casual or professional garments, the Camp College workforce wishes to fill the one’s gaps.

Likewise, every pupil is paired with an admissions counselor who meets with them on one to head over their transcript and assist them in writing a compelling essay. It helps students become aware of their very own potential, Lightfoot said. “I do not suppose lots of students realize how effective their testimonies are,” she said.

In two a long time, the program has proven good-sized success. Of its greater than 1,100 members, a hundred% practice for college, and 96% have enrolled people who sign up, seventy-seven % graduate inside six years.

Cade Sterling, a sophomore at Sewanee, is a testimony to that. He participated in Camp C0llege in 2017 and acquired a scholarship to attend Sewanee after he graduated from Ooltewah High in 2018. Now he is working in a science lab on campus. “Camp College gave me the actual possibility to be on campus and to have really intimate conversations with an admission counselor,” he stated. “I were given virtually fortunate.”

Everett Jolley, director of recruitment at Tennessee State University, has the same opinion and touts the program’s importance. He has been volunteering at the camp for 18 years. He stated college students get the “raw” version of him instead of the bow tie-wearing extreme director of recruitment they might usually come upon.