We in the Center for Education are committed to helping students in our various youth programs prepare for their future academic and professional careers beyond high school. To that end, our students engage in a variety of activities related to career and college preparation.
A challenging aspect of any college application is trying to make yourself stand out in the eyes of college admissions boards. One notable tactic for making your application stand out among the thousands of applicants colleges and universities evaluate every year is an effective college essay. Writing a strong college essay is no easy task, so it is essential to give students the resources necessary to succeed.
Recently, students in the Teva Pharmaceuticals Internship Program met with Carrie Hagan of Mighty Writers, an organization dedicated to helping Philadelphia school students strengthen and refine their writing and communication skills. Carrie taught them helpful techniques for taking a personal experience and gradually transforming that experience into an effective and memorable essay. These included starting with a single sentence and branching out from there, writing for ten minutes straight, and even acting out a personal experience with other students.
These and other college prep activities are giving our students the opportunity to stand out among their peers.
One of the core goals of our youth programs at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia is to help Philadelphia high school students from underserved communities navigate the college application process. Groups affected by violence, discrimination, or economic hardships often face numerous obstacles to academic achievement. Moreover, many of our students in the Girls One Diaspora Club, the Karabots Junior Fellows Program, the Out4STEM Program, and the Teva Pharmaceuticals Internship will be the first in their families to attend college. Preparing for college can be an intimidating and overwhelming endeavor, even in families with adequate resources and minimal socioeconomic obstacles, and it is our goal to help demystify the process through a series of hands-on workshops.
Currently the fourth cohort of the Karabots Junior Fellows Program, who are now high school seniors, is immersed in the college application process. To help them, the Center for Education has hosted college prep workshops for them and their families; these lessons will continue through the 2017-2018 school year. This month, we tackled two important topics over the course of two sessions. The first addressed financial aid, examining resources available to students to help pay for college. It also went into detail about how to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which determines a student’s eligibility for need-based federal and state financial aid (beginning in 2017, the FAFSA is available beginning on October 1, three months sooner than it has traditionally). The second session was an in-depth look at the college application process, addressing what students and families need to know when filling out applications, including a walkthrough of the Common App, a unified college application accepted by roughly 650 colleges and universities.
The old saying goes that it takes a village to raise a child. We are committed to serving as citizens in each of our students’ success.