“Through academic mentorship, career counseling, and sometimes financial support (thanks to the E.L. Haynes College Support Fund), E.L. Haynes continues to support me on my path to graduate from college,” says Kevin Peralta, Class of 2016.
A member of our second graduating class, Kevin Peralta (’16) attends Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, where he majors in Anthropology and Sociology, with a minor in Government and Law. A Posse Foundation Scholar, he credits receiving the prestigious four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarship to the support he received from his teachers and our college office, saying they “set high standards and pushed me academically, and played an integral role in making sure I had multiple extracurricular and professional experiences before I graduated.”
We instill a college-bound culture throughout students’ experience at the school. From the earliest grades, students walk through the college-pennant-filled hallways and enter classrooms named for their teachers’ alma maters. Implementing a holistic approach, our students are prepared for the academic, professional, and financial aspects of the college enrollment process. Our students gain exposure to the college environment as early as middle school when they experience their first school-sponsored college tour. Our College Office designs programs to guarantee our students are equipped with the fundamental professional, academic, and social skills needed to navigate life, master the college application process, and persist to and beyond college.
Since graduating our first class in 2015, our students have been awarded prestigious national scholarships, including Gates Millennium Scholarships, Posse Foundation Scholarships, and TheDream.US Scholarships, among others. In 2018, our first student was accepted into an Ivy League institution, choosing Brown University over Dartmouth College. And, in 2019, 100% of our graduating class were accepted to college, admitted to more than 150 colleges and universities across the nation.
Our College Program is made up of our Pre-College Program, college counseling, and our Alumni Support Program.
To ensure our students are college ready, our Pre-College Program encourages students to participate in transformative learning and résumé building experiences starting their freshman year. Students are exposed to internships and community service, experiential learning initiatives, student academic support initiatives, mentorships, and college campuses through school-sponsored college visits. In addition to building students professionally, our Pre-College Program includes PSAT and SAT prep, college counseling, and financial aid counseling. The program plays a vital role in ensuring our students, especially those historically underrepresented in the college process, are applying, enrolling, and have the skills to persist at the college of their choice.
Our college counselors provide individualized support to assist each student and family to prepare for entrance exams, identify best-match colleges, especially those that have a history of success with first-generation college students, and submit quality applications for admission and financial aid. E.L. Haynes’ 11th grade college-readiness curriculum delivers the tools and information students need to take control of their academic futures. During the 11th grade, students learn time management strategies, build college lists based on career interest and academic standing, and receive individualized SAT preparation taught by the high school’s math and English Language Arts teams. E.L. Haynes integrates families into targeted college preparedness activities to support their understanding of how to plan, apply, pay, and save for college.
In 12th grade, E.L. Haynes’ college-readiness curriculum guides students through every academic and financial step of the college application process, including writing personal statements, requesting recommendations, compiling supplemental materials, and comparing financial aid packages. During the second half of the year we focus on transition issues to help students become academically, socially, and emotionally prepared for the college experience. Our College Counselors provides “survival” workshops to increase college students’ persistence during their first year. These workshops address class registration, navigating a roommate, making travel arrangements, and getting involved on campus among others.
After graduation, E.L. Haynes provides transition programming for rising college freshmen (including summer support to ensure they begin school in the fall), organizes alumni events throughout the year, and establishes ongoing communication and support for E.L. Haynes alumni. Through regular outreach to students, our Alumni and College Success Counselor conducts targeted outreach to mitigate obstacles to students’ successful transitions to college and connect students with institutions’ support systems. Once students are on campus, our Alumni and College Success Counselor schedules year-round activities to keep our alumni connected to and engaged with the E.L. Haynes community, including hosting workshops during students’ holiday breaks, sending alumni newsletter and care packages, and making on-campus visits. In addition, the E.L. Haynes’ College Support Fund provides support to students to help address financial barriers to success, such as travel, books, or college or university fees.
Through our experiences supporting our first five graduating classes, we continue to learn more about their needs and work hard to evolve our programs to fulfill our mission and our commitment to all of our students as they prepare for college and beyond.