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Standing With Students


College Possible 2016 Annual Report

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Standing With Students


College Possible 2016 Annual Report

thank you

Your support meant 25,000 more low-income students were on the path to a college degree in 2016. Together, we can provide a coach for every low-income student.

 

A LETTER FROM OUR CEO AND FOUNDER

I BEGAN COLLEGE POSSIBLE IN 2000 with an idea and a belief: that young people’s determination to change the world could be harnessed to create more college graduates, and that the end of poverty starts with college. I took the risk and began laying the groundwork for this organization because I knew we (soon I had a small powerhouse of a team by my side) weren’t alone in this belief. We knew the community would see the importance of this work and the potential in empowering idealistic recent graduates to coach low-income college.


The same sense of anticipation and possibility that motivated me 15 years ago has inspired us to kick off the next 15 years of work with a broadened vision. Many months of asking how we can better match our efforts to the daunting size of the degree divide have brought us to the early days of an expanded approach. We’ll carry forward our work coaching high school students while redoubling our efforts on college campuses. By 2021, this expansion will power an ambitious 65 percent graduation rate for our students, new partnerships with more than 400 colleges and an enhanced community-college-to-4-year-degree pipeline.


You’ve given us the opportunity to grow from coast to coast and to shift from asking how we’ll reach 20,000 low-income students to asking how we’ll reach 50,000 or even 100,000.

Gratefully,
Jim McCorkell
College Possible CEO and Founder

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97% COLLEGE ADMISSION


rate for 1,866 high school seniors

97% COLLEGE ADMISSION


rate for 1,866 high school seniors

"She believed in my ability to do more than i could imagine"

Zer, College Possible Minnesota

As a first-generation student, Zer knew she wanted to go to college, but she didn’t know where to start. College Possible provided the support she needed to reach her goal, and so much more than that. Being part of College Possible shaped the course of her life.

Zer says College Possible provided her with the resources and experiences she needed to start on the path to earning a college degree.

“Without the program, I would have never visited a college campus,” she said. “Something so simple, yet many first-generation and low-income students don’t get this opportunity and therefore cannot imagine themselves on a college campus.”

Zer also received support from her coach and her College Possible peers. Zer describes her College Possible coach, Jill, as her first role model.

“Not only did my coach assist me with applying to colleges and scholarships, she mentored, supported and advocated for me,” said Zer. “She was encouraging and flexible, which was what I needed as a 17-year-old high school student. She simply was the first person who believed in my ability to achieve more than I could imagine.”

After graduating from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, Zer went on to launch her career in higher education as an admissions counselor at her alma mater. From there, she earned her Masters of Social Work at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities School of Social Work with an emphasis in community organizing and advocacy.

Zer went on to work at several nonprofits, including College Possible, before returning to higher education to pursue her passion for working with college students. Zer is now the Director of Admissions for the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities School of Social Work. She also serves on the College Possible Minnesota board and will be starting a Ph.D. program in higher education in fall 2017.

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$11.2 Million


in scholarships awarded to College Possible students.

$11.2 Million


in scholarships awarded to College Possible students.

 "I WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ABLE TO DO ANY OF IT WITHOUT COLLEGE POSSIBLE.”

Julie, College Possible Philadelphia

Julie, a senior at George Washington High School in Philadelphia, wants to use her future career to help students like her overcome barriers in the education system. For now, though, she’s staying focused on getting through college applications.

Julie has already applied to eight colleges, and hopes to earn a degree that prepares her for work in special education or educational administration. Having a College Possible coach by her side has been a big help as Julie juggles academics and extracurricular activities, like serving as the student body president.

“College Possible is probably the only reason I’ve retained my sanity through the college application process. From pushing me to work through difficult SAT problems to now making sure I meet deadlines for applications, I would not have been able to do any of it without College Possible.”

Julie’s commitment to her school community, her academics and her future signify how successful she will be in her college career. Julie won’t let anything stop her from pursuing her dreams, and going on to help other students pursue theirs. 

"I want to go to college to have more opportunities"

Taylor, College Possible Omaha

As a junior at Millard South High School, Taylor is a member of the National Honor Society, junior class board, track and field, cross country and a dedicated College Possible student. She balances all this while holding a part-time job.

The oldest of seven siblings and a first generation college student, Taylor knew the process to get to college would be difficult without family experience to help pave the way.

“I’ve always wanted to go to college, but sometimes I got frustrated and flustered because I didn’t know how to do it,” said Taylor.

While the demands on Taylor’s time are great, so are her dreams. She aspires to become a book editor after she earns a degree in anthropology or literature. Taylor knows it will take hard work and dedication, but her future is bright.

Taylor already knows which colleges she’ll apply to in her senior year: University of Nebraska at Omaha, University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Missouri, and Florida Atlantic University. But first, with help from her College Possible coach, Rockne, she is determined to raise her already-strong ACT score at least one more point.

"I want to go to college to have more opportunities not only in my career, but life in general," Taylor said.

Taylor and her College Possible cohort are realizing their dreams of earning a college degree. 

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More Bright Futures


Our vision for transformational growth:
joining forces with 400 colleges to serve 50,000 students annually by 2021

More Bright Futures


Our vision for transformational growth:
joining forces with 400 colleges to serve 50,000 students annually by 2021

"i'm motivated by the idea of having a better future"

Isaias, College Possible Milwaukee

Isaias has never been afraid to ask for help, and when he decided to go to college he knew he would need it.

“College was an option that I really wanted but I never exactly knew how to attain it,” Isaias said.

Tommy Grodzicki, Isaias’ College Possible Coach at South Division High School, has helped him prepare for college and navigate the application process. As the first in his family to go to college, those are things Isaias says he would not have known about without Tommy.

“If I hadn’t joined this program, I would have had no way of actually getting to college,” Isaias said. “I wouldn’t have known that I had to apply, I wouldn’t have known how to do the FAFSA, I probably wouldn’t have gotten the same ACT score.”

Though Isaias has a busy schedule with chess club, tennis and caring for younger children at home, he makes time for College Possible. Through after-school sessions, college visits and Tommy’s guidance, Isaias knows college will now be a reality for him.

“Once you’re in this program, you pretty much know that you’re going to go to college as long as you put in the work,” he said.

So far, Isaias has applied to six schools and has already received two acceptance letters. He plans to study psychology and sociology so that he can help others and himself.

“I’m motivated by the idea of having a better future,” said Isaias. “I want to have a fulfilling life and do something that I find meaning in.”

Above all, he is grateful to have the resources to decide his future for himself.

“I really appreciate you guys,” he said. “Because of College Possible, I will go to college.”

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322,000 coaching hours


committed by 190 near-peer AmeriCorps members

322,000 coaching hours


committed by 190 near-peer AmeriCorps members

"Here I am at Portland State!"

Vanessa, College Possible Portland

Vanessa once questioned whether she would make it to college. As the first member of her immediate family to seek higher education, she knew she would need guidance to achieve her goal. She was relieved to find that guidance in College Possible.

“I was very concerned because other people told me how difficult it was to get into school, and I was scared I wasn’t going to make it,” Vanessa said. “But here I am at Portland State!”

Vanessa is only in her second year at Portland State University (PSU), but she is already paving the way for her graduate degree in dentistry. In addition to serving as the secretary of PSU’s Pre-Dental Student Organization (PSO), Vanessa also attends American Student Dental Association (ASDA) meetings at her graduate school of choice, Oregon Heath Science University (OHSU).

Although Vanessa has her long-term goals solidified, she is comforted by the fact that her tech-connected College Possible coach, Yvette, is always close at hand: “Yvette is a great resource. Every time I need something important I’ll message her. It’s nice to go to someone when you need help, and I’m going to be in school for a while.”

While Vanessa once worried if she would make it to college, being enrolled at PSU makes her feel like she has finally found her place: “I joined all these different things in high school to find my place and to find where I belong, but I feel like I belong here.”

Vanessa is grateful for the role College Possible programming continues to play in her academic journey: “It’s life-changing, it really is.”

"My coach helped me with everything"

Ameena, CollegePoint, College Possible National

Ameena, a high school senior in San Antonio, Texas, has spent her entire high school career preparing for college, from taking multiple Advanced Placement classes to ascending to leadership positions in countless student organizations and clubs. She’s co-founder of Empowerment through Inspiration, an organization that connects students with nursing home residents, co-founder and director of A Voice for Our Voices, an organization that raises money for countries going through crisis and president of HOSA, Health Occupations Students of America, an organization for future health professionals—just to name a few.

College was an expectation Ameena’s parents set early on.

“My parents moved to the United States so we could have more opportunities than they did,” says Ameena. “I’m honoring the sacrifices that they made for us by challenging myself and gaining as much knowledge as I can.”

So when Ameena took the SAT, she knew she was one step closer to applying to college, but she wasn’t exactly sure what she needed to do next. Then, she received an email from College Board, the administrator of the SAT, asking if she’d like to join a program called CollegePoint. 

CollegePoint was launched by Bloomberg Philanthropies to provide tech-connected coaching to high-achieving, low- and moderate-income students across the country. CollegePoint coaching is delivered by College Possible, Matriculate, College Advising Corps and ScholarMatch.

Ameena knew CollegePoint would help push her forward, so she joined and was connected to her coach, Alida.
From helping narrow down her college choices to editing draft after draft of scholarship essays and assisting with applying to QuestBridge Scholars, Alida was with Ameena every step of the way.

“Alida really knows me at a personal level,” says Ameena. “It’s a very unique relationship. She’s that supportive person you need when you’re going through so many new things. She helped me with everything.”

Although she’s still in high school, Ameena has big plans for her future and dreams of becoming a doctor.

“A lot of my goals with a medical degree include going to less fortunate countries and creating hospitals and education classes, or developing medical devices that can save people’s lives. It’ll be hard, but when you have that passion and interest, things that are hard become a little easier for you.”
 

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GENEROUS DONORS


contributed $13,696,713 to support our students

GENEROUS DONORS


contributed $13,696,713 to support our students

  Learn why Montavius Jones and others give to College Possible

Learn why Montavius Jones and others give to College Possible

  Learn why Dawn and Jim Hammel MD and others give to College Possible

Learn why Dawn and Jim Hammel MD and others give to College Possible

  Learn why Susan Calmenson and others give to College Possible

Learn why Susan Calmenson and others give to College Possible

  Learn why Joseph Anthony and Heidi Yorkshire and others give to College Possible

Learn why Joseph Anthony and Heidi Yorkshire and others give to College Possible