IMPACT Institute Prepares Incoming Seniors for the College Prep Journey Ahead

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Every year, YES Prep presents its annual IMPACT Institute where eligible incoming seniors have the opportunity to visit with college and university representatives in order to get ready for decisions they’ll have to make about their life after YES Prep. This year, the IMPACT Institute took place on June 6 and 7 at the YES Prep Southside campus. Over 400 students had access to 28 college representatives during this two-day event.

What is the IMPACT Institute?

The IMPACT Institute is presented by Admissions representatives from our IMPACT Partner Campuses alongside YES Prep’s College Initiatives team. The institute provides students the opportunity to explore college options, understand admission criteria, and learn techniques to assemble competitive applications, as well as attend a mini college fair, where parents are also welcome. Javier Osornio, College Counselor at YES Prep Southeast, shared the significance of this event for our students, “the college representatives being there tells our students how important they are. The representatives are spending their time, and investing it in our students, teaching them about the holistic review and early decision, to help our students.”

The college representatives being there tells our students how important they are.”

Osornio also commented on how the partnership with these colleges and universities not only support YES Prep students but also makes valuable connections with YES Prep staff, “Higher education is always changing, and building the relationship helps us stay informed and connected.  It can be as little as learning about changing the deadline, learning about how the campus is emphasizing early action and early decision. We are able to gain information, so we are able to better fully present the information to all the students we advise.”  Thanks to the IMPACT Institute, hosted every summer, as well as IMPACT Saturday, presented in the fall, students have the opportunity to interact with the admissions representatives twice a year and allow YES Prep staff to build a relationship. Osornio added, “I am able to reach out to the representatives to help put kids on their radar and help them get considered.”

Workshops offered this year

This year, students were able to participate in three workshops:

The first workshop was about the difference between the normal college application process and the process applying to an IMPACT school, including the Early Decision application process, Test Optional application process, and applying through the National Common Application, or specific application programs like POSSE and QuestBridge.

The second workshop was a Case Study where students served as a mock admissions committee reviewing real examples of college applications. This allowed students to see what it is like for the admissions representatives to review college applications, including the amount of time they actually have to review the application. Thanks to this activity, students are able to reflect on how to make their applications stand out.

The third workshop was focused on college essays. College Admissions representatives gave students advice on the college essays they worked on in their Junior Seminar class. This exercise shows students how they can make themselves more competitive when applying for college.

Why colleges and universities participate

This year, 28 colleges and universities, both local and from out of state, joined us for the IMPACT Institute. To better explain the benefits the higher education institutions receive through their participation, we asked Nancy York, Senior Assistant Director of Admission at Sewanee: The University of the South, to share why they’ve joined us for the past six years. “Sewanee’s relationship with YES Prep has proven to be one of the most successful and highly regarded partnerships held by the Office of Admission. I am consistently impressed by the quality of the students that apply to our institution and can draw a direct correlation between their success during the admission process and the preparation that they have received during their high school experience. The YES Prep graduates on our campus have contributed to our community in extraordinary ways and are involved in athletics, research, the arts, student government, and so much more!”

Sewanee’s relationship with YES Prep has proven to be one of the most successful and highly regarded partnerships held by the Office of Admission.”

York also noted, “Our attendance each year at the summer IMPACT Institute has proven to be an invaluable part of our partnership. By the end of each day, I’m always delighted to hear students say that they feel more at ease about the admission process, having had an opportunity to talk directly with college admission representatives from across the country. It’s an experience I look forward to every year!” 

Colleges in attendance included: Vanderbilt University, Sewanee: The University of the South, Whitman College, Lycoming College, Trinity University, Rice University, St. Olaf College, Austin College, Oberlin College, Johns Hopkins University, University of Rochester, Bucknell University, Washington & Jefferson College, University of Virginia, Claremont McKenna, Boston University, Bates College, Scripps College, Carleton College, George Washington University, Connecticut College, Iowa State, Rhodes College, Earlham College, College of St. Benedict & St. John’s University, Earlham College.

The IMPACT Institute is just the beginning

Many of the more than 400 students who participated in the IMPACT Institute will apply to IMPACT Institutions this fall and attend college at highly selective colleges across the United States in the fall of 2020.  But what exactly is the IMPACT program? The IMPACT program began in 2006 as a way to boost college persistence for YES Prep graduates.

The IMPACT program is made up of formal partnerships YES Prep has entered with a group of colleges and universities across the country. These partnerships enable YES Prep students to enroll in “cohorts.”  These cohorts, or groups of students, are designed to serve as mutually supportive communities within the larger college campus.  Additionally, these colleges and universities meet the full demonstrated financial need of selected students.

At YES Prep, we are excited to see where the more than 400 seniors who attended the IMPACT Institute this summer will go, and we cannot wait until Senior Signing Day in Spring 2020 when they announce their college of choice.


Will KeatonWilliam Keaton has worked at YES Prep since 2018.  He currently serves as the Student Opportunities and Special Events Associate on the Home Office’s College Initiatives Team. William graduated from Schreiner University with a BA in Political Science and Mathematics and earned his Master’s in Higher Education Administration in 2013 from Ball State University. Prior to coming to YES, William worked for various colleges and universities, including spending four years as the Assistant Director of Student Life and First Year Experience at Eastern Kentucky University. A career educator focused on College Access, William Keaton volunteers with the College and University Food Bank Alliance and with Toastmasters International where he helps facilitate their education programs. In his free time, he can often be found at Sugar Land Skeeter’s games or the movies.


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