High school seniors are in the thick of college application season, and Peer Leaders are here to help! PeerForward’s Campaign Apply is a yearly initiative whereby Peer Leaders work to increase the rate of college applications at their schools by hosting workshops, events, one-to-one mentoring sessions, and more. Their goal is to motivate each of their peers to apply to at least three higher education programs. When students apply to two colleges instead of just one, their chance of enrollment goes up by 40%; a third application boosts those odds by another 10%. Peer Leaders have been busy running and supporting an array of college preparatory programming aimed at students from freshman to senior year. Read on to see what kinds of events are making an impact at PeerForward schools this fall.
College preparation events
Peer Leaders are finding engaging ways to share resources with their peers. Lake Wales High School in Florida wasted no time in kicking off their campaign with a College Madness event in July! They helped their peers get a head start on applications while keeping everyone’s energy up with free lunch and gift card raffles. Meanwhile, in California, the team at Public Service Community School imparted the importance of early college preparation to underclassmen through a presentation for 9th and 10th graders on the variety of post-secondary plans and college systems available to them.
Peer Leaders are also taking the time to provide direct college application support to fellow students: at James Campbell High School in Hawaii, a One-on-One College List event gave students the chance to receive personalized guidance and resources for the college search process. Peer Leaders at All Hallows High School in New York ran a College Information Night to ensure that seniors and their parents got the information they need on application deadlines, financial aid, and more.
College presentations, coordinated by PeerForward Advisors and school counselors, are a great way for students to receive detailed information on different institutions and get their questions answered by knowledgeable admissions officers.
Peer Leaders have been leveraging social media to promote these presentations and generate excitement among classmates about the many options available for further education. The team at James Campbell spread the word about seven college rep visits in September. Peer Leaders at Rembrandt Secondary in Texas shared photos of well-attended presentations from Texas A&M and the University of Houston.
In addition to info sessions, some colleges offer on-site admissions opportunities to high school seniors. At these events, students connect with college representatives and apply for conditional acceptance on the spot. Earning a conditional acceptance boosts students’ confidence in their credentials and self-advocacy skills as they prepare for the rest of their applications.
At Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High School in Maryland, 21 students gained on-site conditional acceptances from Johnson C. Smith University. The Wise Peer Leader team, who promoted the September event and supported their classmates through their applications, we’re excited to share that Wise seniors earned over $170,000 in scholarships! PeerForward Advisor Sunta Harris shared, “The first college visit by Johnson C. Smith University was a great success due to the Peer Leaders! One student came to the event but did not want to apply, just listen. Some of our students went and convinced him that applying would give him more schools to choose from and that it could be his first victory step towards his future career. He applied and was accepted! Peer Leadership made a difference.”
At college fairs, students can explore a wide range of schools and share information and camaraderie with other college-going peers. Peer Leaders are on hand to provide additional information on application and graduation requirements and to preview upcoming workshops and events. The teams at Lake Wales, Henry Wise, and Beethoven, Rembrandt, and Mozart Vanguard Academies promoted and tabled at their schools’ college nights.
By pouring their energy into Campaign Apply, Peer Leaders are making a difference in their classmates’ futures. Elizabeth Dennis, a PeerForward Advisor at Dr. Henry Wise Jr. High School, summed up why the work of Peer Leaders is so essential right now:
“Even the students who excel academically still lack the support and resources to transition to their postsecondary education program. The Roberta Wise College and Career Center is a place where students can come during their lunch period to work with Peer Leaders on career research, college applications, FAFSA, or scholarships. Peer Leaders give up their lunch period to help others. At a time when our youth are looking for ways to connect and have an impact, PeerForward provides them with the guidance, the encouragement, the outlet to use their gifts to influence their peers.”