Deserving students given an opportunity to attend college

Liz Tubman

This year, Lawrence admitted 10 Posse Scholars as part of the new freshman class. Each of these students attended a public high school in New York City and was nominated to become part of the Posse program by teachers, guidance counselors and leaders of community organizations.

Associate Professor of Physics Matthew Stoneking, the mentor for the Lawrence Posse group, explained the program: After their nomination, the students went through a selective assessment based on their individual potential to succeed in top colleges, become leaders on campus and become successful leaders in the business and professional world after graduation.

In preparation for their transition to college, these 10 students met with staff members of the Posse Foundation in Manhattan each week. These meetings not only prepared the students for life in college, but also helped them build a strong support network for each other.

Now that they are at Lawrence, the Posse scholars meet with their mentor Stoneking as a group and individually to continue building support for each other.

“Lawrence is fortunate to have these dynamic, talented scholars on campus, bringing a bit of the Big Apple to Apple-ton,” Stoneking said.

For the Posse scholars, the opportunity to attend a college like Lawrence and to have a support system of other students and friends have been some of their most meaningful experiences.

Posse Scholar Isake Smith commented, “I don’t know what I would do without such a strong support system behind me. It just feels good to know that when you are flipping out about your first paper or going to pull an all-nighter, there is someone — or rather 9 someones — here who know you and know how to help you.”

Although these students are a close group, they want to reach out to the rest of campus as well. “We are not a group of people who doesn’t want to know other people,” explained Posse Scholar Jake Hartmann. “We are here to expand horizons. Not just our own, but the horizons of others on campus.”

“The diversity that we bring to campus is not about race or class or religion, it’s about a different way of thinking, a new point of view, and walking a mile — or from Trever to Colman — in someone else’s shoes,” Hartmann continued. “We are here to live, laugh, learn, and love, and we are ready to do that because of Posse.”

These 10 students have already distinguished themselves in their high school accomplishments, and are sure to do so in their future years at Lawrence.

However, the Posse Foundation isn’t the only organization committed to aiding deserving high school students in gaining entrance to colleges and universities.

Admission Possible is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping promising low-income high school students gain admission to college. The organization, founded in 2000, serves students in the Minneapolis area.

Of all the students that were assisted through Admission Possible, 98% were admitted to college. Besides preparing students for college, Admission Possible is also looking to create and influence strong young leaders whose successes will influence the world around them in positive ways.

Candidates for the Admission Possible program are identified in their sophomore year of high school. Students must be from a low-income background and show the motivation and potential to succeed in college.

Students who are selected to be a part of this program receive 320 hours of direct support from staff over a period of two years. These students receive an overview of the college admission process, help in preparation for the ACT or SAT exams, and guidance in filling out applications and writing essays.

Once the students begin their college careers, they are still in contact with AmeriCorps members in conjunction with Admission Possible to help with the transition from high school to college and to get help in finding resources at college, setting up job shadowing opportunities, and in coordinating alumni events to develop peer networks among students.

This organization is supported in part by private donors, and some of the very first were LU alumni living in the Twin Cities. More recently, additional funds have been donated by generous alumni to allow Lawrence to increase their involvement with the program and enabling them to sponsor events such as the upcoming bus trip to Lawrence University for prospective students from Minnesota.

Lawrence has not had an Admission Possible student attend, but there have been several applicants in the last few years. In the past it was difficult for students to obtain additional funding to visit LU.

A group of 35 Admission Possible students along with 45 other Minnesota students will be visiting campus for our fall visit day.

Chuck Erikson, Assistant Director of Admissions and the LU contact with Admission Possible, commented on the positive relationship between LU and Admission Possible.

Said Erickson, “The students in Admission Possible are incredible, but many of them have very little financial resources to visit or even attend college. Lawrence University is leading the way to enable these students to get the education they deserve.”

The Posse Foundation and Admission Possible are allowing some students the chance to attend a college that otherwise would not be an option for them.

For more information on either program, please visit their respective websites: http://www.possefoundation.org and http://www.admissionpossible.org.

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